SUWANEE -- Colquitt County head coach Rush Probst had no answer for the North Gwinnett defense. In fact, he wondered if his team could reach the end zone against the stingy defense.
Then, with 8:30 to go in the third quarter, Probst got something he hoped for -- a small hole in the defense as Willie Woodyard took a screen pass from Cole Seagraves, weaving his way through the Bulldogs' defense, en route to a 75-yard score.
"I tell you, I don't know what we would have done had we not hit that screen pass," Probst said. "We couldn't get much past them all night. Willie made a perfect run after the catch."
Through most the first half, Woodyard found himself in open space, getting taken down by one of the last defenders before he could break a run for a big play. But, the same wouldn't hold true early in the third.
"Coach told me at halftime he was going to put the ball in my hands in the second half," Woodyard said. "When (Cole) flipped me the ball, I just took off. There was good blocking from everyone and I was able to make a play."
Woodyard's score tied the game at 7-all, but it was a big play by the Colquitt defense that helped move the Packers into the quarterfinals, where they will play at No. 1 Camden County.
On fourth-and-inches, North Gwinnett head coach Bob Sphire decided to go for it from his own 29-yard line. However, the Packers stopped the Bulldogs from getting the first down, giving them a first down going the other way.
"If I was Bob, I would've gone for it, too," Probst said. "It was a good call by Bob, but our guys just made a good play."
Then, with his team now on offense, Probst again called Woodyard's number, this time from the nine-yard line, with Woodyard again finding the end zone for another touchdown.
From there, it was all the Packers' defense as they ended the night intercepting three North Gwinnett passes.
For Probst and his Colquitt team, the win marks their third in their last four tries against Gwinnett County teams in the playoffs, with their lone loss coming against Brookwood in the state championship last year.
"There's a lot of good Gwinnett teams year-in and year-out," Probst said. "There used to be a few teams up here that would compete every year. Now, you've got at least 10 to 12 teams that are in the hunt. Football has gotten stronger here because of the North Gwinnetts and the Graysons. There's so many teams up here that are good, whereas in South Georgia you have about five or six (consistently) good teams."
Colquitt now turns its focus to Camden County, which Probst calls the best in the state.
"I don't see many teams beating them, but we're sure going to give them a run for their money," he said.