Dacula quarterback Aaron Grove drops back to pass during the game last week against Peachtree Ridge. (Photo: Kyle Hess)
Just because it’s house money, doesn’t mean you don’t play to win.
By last week, Dacula easily could have seen its season end against a talented Peachtree Ridge team and walked off the field filled with pride. A one-win team from a season ago, reaching the second round of the Class AAAAAA state football playoffs more than lapped even the farthest reaching of expectations of any Falcon player or coach during the preseason.
Yet the Falcons showed no signs of content. They pulled off the surprise win and now get to face a program as tradition-rich as they, Colquitt County.
“They are, obviously, one of the very best teams in the state of Georgia and you woudn’t expect anything different when you are playing in the quarterfinals,” Dacula head coach Tommy Jones said of the Packers. “Offensively, they are very efficient.”
Efficient may understate the Packers’ offense. Quarterback Daniel Mobley has thrown for 2,136 yards and 14 touchdowns, completing most of his passes to Kiel Pollard and Todd Boyd. Running back Sihiem King leads the team with 1,339 yards in 12 games. In their two playoff wins, the Packers averaged 46.5 points. Their defense has allowed just 16 points. Colquitt’s defense, led by Bull Barge’s 175 tackles, has only allowed more than 20 points twice this season — both Packers’ losses to Hoover (Ala.) and Camden County.
“Definitely, they are probably the most talented bunch we’ve seen all year,” Jones said.
That all matters little to Dacula. The Falcons have seen plenty of talented teams all season and found enough success and every week returned to practice, eyes set on the next foe.
“It’s always a challege after a big win to get back to work, to get back to the grind,” Jones said. “Our kids have very focused. They understand the challenge they have ahead of them.”
Playing a team as talented as Colquitt County, Dacula will take any advantages it can and the first one came when the Falcons won the coin toss for home field advantage. It’s a little thing when facing a team accustomed to long travel, but every edge matters.
“They travel very well every week,” Jones said of Colquitt County, “This is old hat to them. Part of the advantage is playing in friendly confines, being able to sleep in your own bed. I don’t know if I would call it an advantage, but there is a little luxury.”
The luxury of this season for the Falcons is the swath of playmakers who pop up each week.
Tight end Josh Lovin helped the offensive line control Peachtree Ridge last week, opening things up for quarterback Aaron Grove, who completed a season-high 11 passes. Kelan Fraise took the bulk of the carries of the three-back running attack, rushing for more than 100 yards.
The defense contained the offensive playmakers Peachtree Ridge lines up at every position.
Like every win, Dacula used its whole team. There is no specific Falcon teams can prepare for.
“One of the encouraging things about this season, it seems every week a new player or different guy steps up, plays well in crucial situations,” Jones said.
Colquitt County at Dacula
Colquitt County (1-AAAAAA)
Coach: Rush Propst
Last week: Beat North Cobb 52-6
Coach: Tommy Jones
Last week: Beat Peachtree Ridge 28-21
Last meeting: First meeting
Directions to Dacula High School: From Highway 316, go north on Highway 8 approximately one mile and school is on the left.