MOULTRIE — Colquitt County can end three years of frustration when it plays host to Tift County at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium.

The Packers, 5-1 overall and 2-1 in Region 1-AAAAA, have an immediate goal of getting one step closer to qualifying for the state playoffs.

A win over the Blue Devils would make the Packers 3-1 in the region with three two play, including home games against Warner Robins and Houston County.

That should be enough motivation.

But for those Packers who have been in the program for the last four years, the chance to beat their closest region opponent should have some additional meaning.

Between 1999 and and 2005, the Packers defeated the Blue Devils six of seven times.

But the last three years, Tift County has victimized Packers defense.

In 2006, Tift County won in triple overtime in the last game of the season 38-35. In 2007, it was the Blue Devils 45-12.

Last year in Tifton, the Packers jumped out to a 7-0 first quarter lead on a first-quarter touchdown run by Tevin King, but the Blue Devils scored the next 37 points to win 37-20.

Tift went on to a 5-2 region record, good for third place, and reached the second round of the playoffs before being bounced by Newnan 42-0 and finishing 8-4.

Heading into this season, the Blue Devils had gone 33-15 since Jay Walls took over the program from Tommy Seward before the 2005 season.

And Tift has not won fewer than six games in that span.

But the Blue Devils will have to scramble to reach a half-dozen wins this year.

Tift is 2-4 overall with four to play, including Friday’s meeting here with the Packers.

And the Blue Devils are just 1-2 in the region standings, having lost to Warner Robins 34-0 and Lowndes 50-7 before beating Houston County 33-14 last Friday.

In non-region games, Tift dropped its opener 42-7 to Roswell and then fell to Class AA Brooks County 27-7, before beating Cook 20-0.

Perhaps the Blue Devils woes this year should have been expected.

Offensively, they lost running back Stevan Toomer and receiver Jared Davis.

On defense, the Blue Devils are trying survive the loss of All-State linebacker Shayon Green, now at Miami, four-year starting linebacker Josh Abbott, now at Alabama State and eight other starters.

For the first time in school history, the Blue Devils have made the postseason four straight seasons.

But the defense will have to play better if Tift is to extend that streak. The Blue Devils are giving up 27.8 points a game.

Tift also has struggled on offense, despite what was expected to be the best returning quarterback in the region in senior Malcolm Dixon.

Dixon completed 120-of-231 passes for 1,502 yards and 11 touchdowns last fall, while also rushing for 499 yards and 10 more scores.

Against the Packers, Dixoncompleted 10-of-20 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns and ran nine times for 36 yards and anothe score.

But until last week against Houston County, Dixon had been unable to get on track this season.

He damaged the Bears by carrying 11 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns, easily his best performance of the season.

Dixon now ranks No. 9 in the region in rushing with 305 yards on 74 carries. The two scores against Houston County were his first of the season.

He completed 5-of-12 passes for 49 yards last week and has hit 48-of-106 passes for 432 yards for the season.

But he has thrown five interceptions and has yet to throw for a touchdown.

Colquitt County head coach Rush Propst and defensive coordinator Jack Hines have cautioned that Dixon will be a handful when the Blue Devils visit on Friday.

The Packers have won two in a row and will send out an offense led by the region’s leading passer and receiver.

Tyler Brown passed the 1,000-yard passing mark with his 43-yard scoring toss to Quin Roberson in the fourth quarter of the Packers 14-7 victory over Valdosta last Friday.

The junior quarterback has completed 70-of-115 passes for 1,031 yards and seven touchdowns.

He was 15-for-21 for 205 yards and a score against Valdosta.

Roberson, who led the region with 40 catches a year ago, has 23 receptions for 432 yards and five scores.

His nine touchdowns are second-most in the region behind the 11 scored by Houston County running back Robert Williams.

Running back Tevin King is third in the region in rushing with 570 yards on 74 carries, scoring eight times. King also is fourth in the region with 13 pass reception for 140 yards.

Jacob Propst is fifth in the region with 12 catches for 176 yards.

Also on Friday in the region, Coffee (3-3, 1-2) will be at Northside (5-0, 3-0) and Valdosta (4-1, 1-2) will go to Lowndes (5-1, 2-1) for the annual Winnersville Classic.

Houston County and Warner Robins are off this week.

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