MOULTRIE -- Tonight's meeting between the Colquitt County and Lowndes boys soccer teams at Mack Tharpe Stadium is anticlimactic in some respects.
The Vikings have won the Region 1-AAAAA championship. The Packers will be No. 2. Both will host Class AAAAA first-round playoff games next Tuesday.
And while Colquitt County coach Jeff Morris said tonight's primary mission is to get through the match with no injuries and no cards, the five seniors playing their final regular-season game probably have a little more incentive.
Since 2001, when G.W. Jenkins, David Adcock, Rick Lacey, Jorge Malagon and Justin Harrison were ninth-graders, the Packers are 1-6 against the Vikings.
They certainly would like nothing better than to have a game similar to the 2002 home meeting, when Colquitt won 4-1.
If the Packers can hold down the Vikings offensively tonight, much of credit will likely go to Jenkins, the Packers goal keeper, and Adcock, a top defensive player.
Jenkins is in his first season as the starter in the Packers net.
"He's had to bide his time," Morris said of Jenkins. "But he worked hard in in the off-season to get ready and he's done really well for us. The only time he's given up bunches of goals has been when we've played poorly as a team.
"He's been a good role model for the younger kids, always playing like a champion whether we are one or not."
Adcock, one of the team's captains, has been a starter since he was freshman and has been a All-Region player for the Packers.
"He's just a natural in his position," Morris said. "He's been a leader for us and it hurts him when we don't play well. He gets aggravated about it.
"He's got a bright future in whatever he's going to do."
Like Jenkins, senior midfielder Rick Lacey had to be patient before earning his role this season.
"There was a time when he felt he was getting lost in the system," Morris said. "And this year I wasn't sure how he'd fit in.
"But once he got in there, he's done well. He's been steady for us.
"He's one of those guys who'd run through a brick wall if you asked him to. He's had unquestioned loyalty to he program."
Morris likened Lacey and his character to players such as Rob Craft, Russ Beggs, Ross Dekle, Adam Marion and Sam Marion.
"That's an incredible line to follow," Morris said.
Possibly no one worked harder to play his senior season than two-year captain Jorge Malagon.
After not being eligible academically as a freshman, Malagon got his grades in shape and will graduate next month.
"He fought hard to get back on track and hasn't had a problem since," Morris said of Malagon, who also ran cross country in the fall.
"He's been a steady, reliable player. If we had 100 like him, we'd win everything."
Morris said Malagon also sets the right example for the other Hispanic players in the program.
"He's coachable, talented and motivated," Morris said. "He's not very vocal. He leads by example. Every time he's out there, he demonstrates it."
It has been an extremely frustrating senior season for Harrison.
An All-Region player last season, Harrison injured an ankle in the preseason jamboree and missed the first three games of the season.
The Packers leading scorer in 2003 returned for the March 4 game against Tift County, but broke his jaw when sucker-punched by a Tift County player during a second-half brawl.
Harrison played the next game against Central-Macon, but then had his jaw wired and missed the next eight games. He also suffered from strep throat during the season.
"We really missed him in there," Morris said. "And since he's been back, he's given us a little spark."
Despite limited playing time this season, Harrison has scored six goals, giving him 20 for his career, good for eighth place in the school's career scoring list.
"But he doesn't care who scores as long as the team is successful," Morris said. "Coaches are always looking for players who will take responsibility for winning.
"And that's Justin."
Morris said the Colquitt County captain's value to the team was most visibly demonstrated when he refused to miss a practice or a game during the time he was unable to play except to go to a doctor or catch up on school work.
"He's been a lot of fun to coach," Morris said. "He understands the game and he wants to be successful."
The Packers will be back at Mack Tharpe Stadium at 6 p.m. Tuesday for a first-round playoff meeting with 15-2-1 McIntosh, the No. 3 team from Region 4-AAAAA. The Chiefs are ranked No. 4 in the state.
This Week's Circulars
MOULTRIE [mdash] Ricky Nelson Smith, 62, of Moultrie, died Friday, March 26, 2021 at his residence. Arrangements have been entrusted to Baker Funeral Home.
MOULTRIE [mdash] Karen Louise Evans Goble, 56, of Moultrie, died Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at Colquitt Regional Medical Center. Arrangements have been entrusted to Baker Funeral Home.
MOULTRIE [mdash] Joseph Clifford Cooper, 27, of Moultrie, died Monday, March 29, 2021 in Moultrie, Georgia. Arrangements have been entrusted to Baker Funeral Home.
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