The Packers have advanced to the state semifinals for three of the past four years under coach Rush Propst, who came to Colquitt County, located in the southwest Georgia town of Moultrie in 2008 from nationally renowned Hoover (Ala.).
North Cobb, which made its run to the Class AAAAAA state semifinals last season, will be facing a Colquitt County team tonight at Emory Sewell Stadium that has gone to the semifinals each of the last two.
At Hoover, Propst won 115 games and five state championships during a nine-year stay. When he came to Colquitt, he inserted a high-powered no-huddle offense and a 4-3 defense that the players have bought into. While Propst was 4-6 in his inaugural season, he’s done no worse than a state quarterfinals appearance since.
“They are balanced on offense — balanced as they possibly can be,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. They are about 55- and 45-percent running and passing. We can’t make many mistakes because they’re not going to beat themselves. We got to take care of the football.”
And the Packers (9-2) prepared themselves with a challenging non-region schedule that included 2011 state champion Grayson, Hoover and last year’s state runner-up. Lovejoy. They won two of the three.
“We try to play the toughest non-region schedule there is — Grayson, Hoover and Lovejoy,” Propst said. “It has helped us get to where we are and will help us play and score against (North Cobb’s) high-octane offense.”
Going into the state playoffs, the Packers are one of the better second-half teams in the state.
They’ve only surrendered nine touchdowns after halftime. Three of those came against Hoover at the beginning of the season, and another was a fumble return by Tift County.
In their 41-10 win over Newnan in the first round last week, the Packers allowed a fourth-quarter touchdown long after the game had already been decided.
“Their defense is big, kind of like McEachern,” Queen said. “We’ve played the Hillgroves and the McEacherns who are both talented on defense. We’ve played a tough region schedule and that’s prepared us down the road.”
Colquitt County has shut out six of its regular-season opponents in the fourth quarter.
Bull Barge has much to do with that. He has 162 tackles and two forced fumbles. Linebacker Tomarcio Reese has six sacks and 23 quarterback hurries, and defensive back Michael Sutton leads the team with three interceptions.
Colquitt County is a quick-starting team, something the Warriors will have to prevent to be successful. The Packers rolled up 440 yards of offense behind running back Sihiem King’s 124 rushing yards and quarterback Daniel Mobley’s 236 passing yards.
Game: Colquitt County
(9-2) at North Cobb (9-2), 7:30 p.m. TV: GPB
Last meeting: First meeting
All-time series: First meeting
Prediction: Colquitt County 27, North Cobb 21