MOULTRIE -- The Colquitt County middle schools seventh-grade football team's season-opener last week was postponed by lightning and more bad weather kept the team from practicing from last Thursday until Wednesday's game against Newbern.

And it showed.

The youngest Packers were not as sharp as the coaching staff would like in dropping a 22-14 decision to Newbern at Mack Tharpe Stadium.

The seventh-graders jumped out to an 8-0 lead on a 40-yard punt return for a touchdown by Derrell Ward and a two-point conversion run by Davis Durham.

But Newbern scored on its next two possessions to take a 16-8 lead and held on for the victory.

"We still need to work a little more on our fundamentals," said coach Cliff Willis. "We hadn't practiced since last Thursday because of the weather and it showed.

"We need to tackle a little better and do the little bitty things better. But we learned from this and we'll get better. We've got a lot to build on."

Colquitt drew first blood when it forced Newbern to punt from its own 20.

Ward made a nice running catch of the ball at the Newbern 40 and raced down the right sideline untouched for the team's first touchdown of the season.

But after Durham's conversion run, Newbern ran off three unanswered scores before Colquitt scored again with 43 seconds left in the game.

Colquitt had just three offensive snaps in the first quarter.

After Ward's touchdown, Newbern tied the game on a 48-yard touchdown run by quarterback Khary Franklin and a two-point conversion run by Dominique Davis with 1:35 left in the first quarter.

Newbern then recovered an onside kick and marched 44 yards to a 3-yard scoring run by Franklin and another two-point conversion by Davis to take a 16-8 lead with 4:31 left in the half.

The Panthers then recovered a second straight on side kick and maintained possession until punting with 3:11 left in the half.

Colquitt took over on its own 43. It was just its second possession of the half.

Newbern extended its lead to 22-8 when Franklin scored his third touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run with 2:02 left in the game. The conversion attempt failed.

But Colquitt answered quickly, driving 43 yards in three plays, all runs by Dominique Pressley.

The last run covered 39 yards for the touchdown. The conversion attempt failed, but the Packers had pulled to within eight.

Colquitt then recovered an onside kick of its own, but managed just 18 yards on three plays before time expired.

Pressley led Colquitt County with 99 yards rushing on 14 attempts.

"It seemed like we had bad field position every time we touched the ball," Willis said.

"But we're going to make some adjustments and come back next week."

The seventh-graders will travel to Tift County next Wednesday.

The Colquitt County middle schools eighth-grade team, which lost its opener 42-34 to Lowndes last week, will travel to Newbern for a 5 p.m. game today.

The eighth-graders will be back at Mack Tharpe Stadium to meet Tift County at 5 p.m. a week from today.

The Colquitt County ninth-grade team will travel to Tift County today.

The ninth-graders lost at Lowndes 27-0 last week.

The B-team will play again on Sept. 16 at home against Lowndes

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