MOULTRIE — As a coach who has built a reputation not only for winning state championships but also for having productive, high-scoring offenses, Colquitt County’s Rush Propst must be looking forward to 2010 with even more anticipation this year.

Yes, the Packers will have to replace several key contributors to the outstanding 2009 team that went 11-3 and reached the state semifinals.

Most difficult to replace will be record-setting wide receiver-quarterback-kick returner Quin Roberson, Region 1-AAAAA’s Offensive Player of the Year.

Colquitt also will lose receiver Jacob Propst, guard Chris Walsh — both all-Region players — and fullback Hakeem Peterson.

But what an array of proven offensive performers will be back.

The offensive line will have four starters back, including first-team All-Region center Bryce Giddens, who will be just a junior, and second-team tackle Xavier Ward, who has already received a scholarship offer from Georgia.

Garrett Brewer and Trey Rhymes also will be back. And versatile Tommy Marshall will be ready to step into a starting role. Preston Mobley is expected to push for a starting job.

Tyler Brown will be back for his senior season after passing for a Packers- record 2,091 yards this season. With 2,836 yards to his credit already, Brown will have a shot at the Packers career passing yardarge record of 4,376 yards held by Reggie Stancil.

But the Packers developed into a spread running team first down the stretch this season, they depended on the speed and quickness and toughness of junior Tevin King, who will be back in 2010.

King finished with 1,052 rushing yards, sixth-best in Packers history. In the final game of the season, King moved past legendary Packer Don Porterfield, who had 1,037 yards in 10 games 50 years ago in 1959.

Injuries suffered by King his season forced the Packers to look at other ball-carrying options and D’Amonte Ridley stepped up and proved he, too, could be explosive.

And the Packers may have someone to fill the role Roberson had in their version of the “Wildcat” formation. Tre Cooper showed some speed and elusiveness this year and he also has the ability to throw the football.

Brown will have plenty of experienced receivers to throw to next season as well.

This year, he relied on Roberson, who caught 58 passes for 911 yards and eight touchdowns.

But King, Ridley, Cooper, Blake Stamps, Ty Smith, Octavius Little, Tommy Hudson, Hayden Kudela and Matthew Sailor also have shown the ability to hold on to the football under the Friday night lights.

Obviously, the biggestholes to fill next year will be on special teams and defense.

The Packers will miss the outstanding kickoffs and punts provided by Tyler Dismuke. Snapper Ashley Mead also will be gone, although Propst said the Packers may have found a capable replacement in Alex Littleton.

Davis Durham will leave a hole not only in the secondary, but also as the Packers holder for the last two seasons.

Reliable Rich Tyndall will be back to handle all the place-kicking chores.

The Packers coaching staff is hoping Carlos Bautista will step in to take over the kickoff duties.

Propst does not disagree that the defense will face the biggest makeover, but insists the situation may not be as dire as some may believe.

And what a job defensive coordinator Jack Hines and his staff of Tony Kirkland, Greg Tillery, Darius Dawson and Dextra Polite did in 2009.

The Packers went from being Region 1-AAAAA’s whipping boy to one of its best.

And the list of players to replace on the defense is impressive, starting with three defensive tackles: Cameron Erving, first-team All-Region and heading to Florida State; All-Region selection Nyneson Jeudy; and three-year solid performer Robert Fuller.

Unsung defensive end Tyrell Wright is likely to playing again at the next level next year as are the linebacking twins of Willie and William McCrary.

Willie led the team with 101 tackles and had the game-breaking 95-yard interception return for a touchdown against Lassiter.

William had 73 tackles and returned a pick for a score against Stephenson.

Linebackers Jamal Davis, Dillon Underwood and Emory Wheeler will be gone next year, as will most of the secondary: Amel Magwood, eight interceptions; Derrell Ward, five interceptions; and Durham, two interceptions and 87 tackles.

But Propst likes what he has returning.

Stephen Moore, who had a fine junior season, will be back at linebacker and could be joined inside with rising sophomore John Gray.

Three defensive ends will be back, including starter Quan Daniels.

Rashawn Hunt, who had one of 2009’s most memorable plays when he stripped Warner Robins quarterback Maurice Dudley of the ball to save a touchdown, was not really a starter this season, but still had 73 tackles.

Dehryan Arnold also appears ready for a more extensive role in the defense.

Magwood and Ward will be difficult to replace in the secondary after rarely leaving the field in 2009.

Payne Newsome is expected to be the leader of the secondary next fall at either rover or free safety.

The biggest challenge for the Packers defensive staff will be finding inside linemen to replace Erving, Jeudy and Fuller.

After missing the playoffs for three years before this season, the Packers may find the road back to postseason a little less arduous next fall.

With Region 1-AAAAA down to just five teams, only one will not make the playoffs. And two of the current five — Tift County and Coffee — failed to make the playoffs in 2009.

PACKERS NOTES: Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran has received a number of accolades recently, including being named to the Southern Pigsking 2009 All South Football Team.

Curran led the SEC in tackles with 122 in 12 games and is the first Bulldog since former Packer linebacker and Colquitt County Sports Hall of Fame member Greg Bright in 1996-1997 to have more than 100 tackles in back-to-back seasons.

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

Recommended for you