Brookwood and Colquitt square off in much-anticipated playoff opener

This weekend, the state of Georgia will be kicking off its High School Football State Playoffs. There will be numerous games that will be entertaining to watch, but one of the most critical will be the Brookwood Broncos taking on the Colquitt County Packers. These two championship programs are respected for being some of the best high school football programs within the state of Georgia and anyone who is a football fan should tune into this game to watch these two powerhouses battle for a full 60 minutes of football. This game could turn out to be the best game in the first round of the playoffs and the winner could potentially be one of the favorites to win the state title.

The Brookwood Broncos come into this game after finishing the regular season with an 8-2 record and a 2-2 record in the region. The Broncos are led sophomore quarterback Dylan Lonergan, who before a leg injury, was leading the state in passing. Despite missing snaps midway through the season, he currently has 20 touchdowns and five interceptions with over 2,000 yards passing. Behind Lonergan is a strong backfield and receiving corp. The running game featuring Alexander Diggs and Jumal Prothro have both rushed for over 400 yards. The Broncos receiving corps has been assisting their quarterback by having four receivers averaging over 300 yards this year. With the success the Broncos have had, there have been some players who’ve gotten injured pretty recently and head coach Philip Jones gave his thoughts on the situation going into the playoffs.

“Yeah we’re a little banged up at this point of the year and other teams are a little too, but we had some guys go down with injuries two weeks ago against Grayson,” said Jones. “We’re hoping to get those guys back this week for this game. Luckily for us they’re not season ending injuries but that’s where it stands for right now.”

On the other hand, Jones was the head coach back in 2016 and 2017 when the Broncos played the Packers in the regular season and again in the playoffs both times. Despite both playoff contests being highly-competitive, the Broncos ultimately lost both matchups. Coach Jones spoke about the difference of then and now. According to Jones the Broncos have played in one of the toughest regions and classes in the state and believes the team is battle tested. This could be something that can help them finally get past the Packers to advance deeper in the playoffs. Coach Jones also gave more insight on what the team needs to do to be prepared for the Packers on Friday night.

“This year things are a little different,” said Jones. “Definitely not the same group of players, but I think what we have to handle well is the road trip being four hours, so we have to make sure our guys are not falling asleep on the way there, we have to make sure our guys aren’t hungry or anything prior to the game and we have to handle the environment well. …Now it won’ t be as hostile as it’s been in the past but it’s different from a metro Atlanta environment so we have to be focused. As for Colquitt we just have to try to be the best team we can be and play a solid game.”

A decade ago, the Broncos won their second state championship and the team they defeated were the Packers of Colquitt County. The Broncos will try their best to to get back to championship glory this year but will have to get past the Packers to reach that pinnacle. Coach Jones would love to see his team win it all this year and feels like this is a possibility if the team can keep their minds on the task at hand. The Broncos have a really good team this year and if they pass this upcoming test will have a good chance to be crowned state champion once again.

“You know it would be great to reach that mountain top again that’s the goal for us every year and what we have to do is remain focused,” said Jones. “You have to make sure you’re healthy going into the playoffs and our team has the talent, the ability, grit, and toughness to get there and sometimes you have to have a little luck on your side and hopefully the ball can go our way at times, but it would be great to achieve that in the end.”

Packers head coach Justin Rodgers is in his second year coaching and shared his opinions on the past success that the Packers have had in the postseason versus the Broncos.

“Well were looking forward to facing them because they’re a first round opponent,” said Rodgers. “You know what those other teams did against them doesn’t really matter to us. It’s kind of irrelevant because this is a different group and we’re looking to face this team and do what we have to do to give our team a chance to win.”

The Packers finished the season unbeaten with a 7-0 record and a 3-0 region record and ranked number one or two in certain polls of the 7A class. Nationally the Packers are recognized as one of the best programs in the entire country being ranked number 11 in the nation in the Maxpreps poll. When you have a team that plays as hard as they do, the accolades such as these are representative of that hard work translating to the field. The Packers have their starting quarterback and running backs controlling the run game with Xavier Williams, Jamaree Hill and Charlie Pace combining for over 1,000 yards rushing on the year. They also have a relentless defense which has sacked the quarterback a total of 32 times this season. Defense is a priority for this team and Coach Rodgers acknowledges it very blatantly. Against a threatening quarterback like Longergan the defense will have to do their best to disrupt him.

“You know the old saying defense wins championships, so I think it’s very important we continue the success on defense,” said Rodgers. “Those guys have been doing it all year and against a quarterback like Dylan we want to make sure we get him off his base and try to make him uncomfortable in the pocket, but we want to do this against any quarterback we face.”

Rodgers also knows the importance of what winning state means to the program and the community. A team like the Packers are expected to win and compete for the championship year in and year out and the Packers will be looking to win their fourth overall championship since their last triumph in 2015. This team seems committed to make a run and we’ll see if they can make that dream a reality this year. Rodgers talked about his interpretation of a magnitude of a title win and how it applies to the Colquitt program.

“Well I think it will be awesome you know that’s the goal every year to win the state before the start of the season. It would mean a lot to us and our community and most importantly the players because of everything they’ve fought and sacrificed to get to this point.” said Rodgers.

This game looks to be an old school hard-fought football game that could be won in the trenches. Whichever team can get the most pressure on the quarterback and consistently stop the run should have the edge in winning the game. This type of game is something hardcore football fans will love to watch and could very well go down to the last possession. Who should ever comes out victorious could likely be one of the teams that makes a run for this year’s Class 7A state championship.


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply