FAYETTEVILLE - The Colquitt County football team achieved one goal this season, winning the school's first playoff game since 1999.
Despite a furious rally in the final two minutes, the Packers could not advance in the second round, falling 16-14 on Friday to Starr's Mill in Fayetteville.
The Packers finish the season with a 6-6 record. Starr's Mill raises its record to 10-2 and will advance to meet 12-0 Brookwood next week in Snellville.
The Panthers were ousted in the second round in 2004 and 2002 and will advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2000, when they reached the state semifinals before being eliminated by Harrison.
The Packers gave up just three field goals and a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to the Panthers, but never could generate enough offense to push the Panthers until marching 80 yards in eight plays to score a touchdown with 44 seconds remaining to cut their deficit to two points.
But Starr's Mill recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
The Panthers pounded the Packers defense all night with a clock-devouring offense that gained 230 yards on 49 carries. The Panthers were not inclined to throw much, but completed 2-of-5 passes for another 52 yards.
Starr's Mill's 210-pound fullback Greg Davis carried 27 times for 114 yards. Antonio Brown carried 10 times for 83 yards and the Panthers only touchdown, a 19-yard burst on the first play of the fourth quarter.
That touchdown, which gave the Panthers a 16-7 lead, came after Starr's Mill recovered a Colquitt County fumble at the Packers 40. It took only six plays to score.
Colquitt County had another costly fumble later in the fourth quarter on a fourth-and-3 at the Starr's Mill 19.
The Packers started slowly, going three-and-out on their first four possessions and fell behind when Starr's Mill Keegan Hanie connected on field goals of 32 yards with 9:27 left in the first half and again from 30 yards with 7:11 remaining.
Before the first Starr's Mill field goal, it appared the Panthers had scored a touchdown when Brandon Witta broke through the Packers defense and ran to the end zone from 17 yards out on a third-and-four.
But the play was called back because of an inadvertent whistle and when Greg Davis managed just two yards on the next play, Hanie was called on to kick the field goal to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead.
But after the Panthers second field goal, the Packers took the kickoff and march 80 yards on 11 plays for a touchdown.
Jeremy DeBruce got the Packers one first down on the drive with a 12-yard catch of a pass from Channing Hudson.
Orion Ponder had the big play, a 28-yard run to the Panthers 10. The junior tailback then scored his 11th touchdown of the season when he snagged a Channing Hudson pass in the back of the end zone on a third-and-goa from the Panthers 5. Matt DeMott converted and the Packers were up 7-6 with 2:38 left in the half.
But Colquitt County was not finished.
The Packers Sam Heath recovered when Starr's Mill was slow to cover the kickoff and the Packers were in business again at the Panthers 20.
Colquitt worked the ball down to the Panthers 12, where a DeMott field goal attempt from 29 yards out on the last play of the half was deflected and fell short. The Packers still held a 7-6 halftime lead.
But the Panthers first legitimate scoring opportunity was thwarted when the Packers Antwan Tuff intercepted a Robby Davis pass in the end zone with 4:53 left in the first half.
Starr's Mill took the lead for good on a 35-yard field goal by Hanie with 5:23 left in the third quarter. The 9-7 advantage stood until Brown's touchdown, only the second the Packers gave up in two playoff games.
The Packers made a game of it on its final drive, going from their own 20 to a second-and-goal from the Starr's Mill 3, where Hudson threw to Tuff in the end zone for the touchdown.
Hudson completed 5-of-7 passes for 85 yards on the drive, which started when Hudson was sacked on the first play.
Hudson completed 12-of-21 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns. Ponder had three catches for 41, B.J. Howard three for 43 and Dontrell Johnson three for 47.
Ponder was the Packers leading rusher for 45 yards on 15 carries.