Dacula’s Kelan Fraise (2) gains a few yards before being tackled by Colquitt County’s Michael Sutton (5) during Friday night’s AAAAAA state playoff game at Dacula. (Photo: Karl L. Moore)
DACULA — It happened on a small play.
On Colquitt County’s first drive of the game, starting quarterback Daniel Mobley appeared to injure his leg on an incomplete pass. The Packers put in his backup, Chase Parrish, for the third down play and the sophomore completed his first pass for 12 yards and a first down.
“He’s a good player,” Colquitt head coach Rush Propst said of his future quarterback. “We know where he is.”
The next play, Mobley returned and hit Todd Boyd for a 29-yard touchdown.
“They were able to convert in some crucial situations to keep scoring drives going,” Dacula head coach Tommy Jones said.
The Packers knew enough to trust him and the score started a big quarter that saw Colquitt build a lead Dacula could not overcome in a 42-17 quarterfinal loss in the state Class AAAAAA playoffs. The loss ended a miraculous turnaround from a one-win season a year ago in Jones’ first season at Dacula.
“I don’t know if there are words to describe how proud we are as a staff of our seniors,” Jones said. “I have often said that a coaching staff in transition, the key to the first year is whether your seniors buy in or not. This group of seniors bought in and because of that they were great leaders.”
Every one of the Falcons’ 17 points came from a senior, with Aaron Grove finding Kelan Fraise for a 23-yard touchdown, Bryce Bartlett returning an interception for a touchdown and Nick Mattiucci knocking in a 23-yard field goal. Grove finished his final game with 112 yards on 8 of 19 passing and sophomore Jakob Brashear led the seven-rusher attack with 33 yards on the ground. Fraise had 43 yards receiving.
The points didn’t come until the fourth quarter with the game out of reach, scoring in those moments hinted at the type of toughness Jones credits to his seniors.
“Although the outcome wasn’t what we wanted it to be tonight, I thought that fourth quarter showed a significant heart and resiliency from our kids,” Jones said.
But against a Colquitt County team averaging nearly 50 points a game in the playoffs the offensive burst came too late.
After the opening touchdown, the Falcons forced a turnover on downs on the next Colquitt possession, but like Dacula’s first possession, the offense punted after four plays. Colquitt struck again, this time on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Mobley to Kiel Pollard on the first play from scrimmage.
The struggles for the Falcons’ offense continued on the next possession when Bull Barge picked off Aaron Grove and returned it 20 yards for the third Packers touchdown of the first quarter and a 21-0 lead. With 2:36 left in the opening quarter, Dacula had yet to pick up a first down.
The Falcons broke through on the possession, taking 12 plays to drive 75 yards before stalling on the 5-yard line and settling for Mattiucci’s field goal.
Colquitt answered immediately when Sihiem King ripped off a 26-yard touchdown run to give Colquitt County a 28-3 halftime lead.
Dacula managed just 34 rushing yards in the first half and Grove was 5 of 15 for 78 yards and a two interceptions.
“We didn’t execute near like we are capable of,” Jones said.
Dacula opened the third quarter with a promising drive, using 10 plays and driving as close as the Packers’ 25-yard line. But a sack on fourth-and-5 ended a scoring threat and Colquitt followed it a drive that ended with Pollard rushing from three yards out into the end zone.
“You want to be able to play better in a big game like this,” Jones said. “But we have great kids that will continue to press forward.”
And they did with the outburst even with the hope of winning nearly snuffed out.
“We are going to walk with our heads held high and feel like we were fortunate to have a good year,” Jones said.
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Colquitt County 42, Dacula 17
Colquitt County21777 — 42
Dacula03014 — 17
Colquitt County: Todd Boyd 29 pass from Daniel Mobley (kick failed) 10:07
Colquitt County Kiel Pollard 54 pass from Mobley (Javonta Woods pass from Mobley) 3:47
Colquitt County: Bull Barge 20 INT return (Jose Vega kick) 2:36
Dacula: Nick Mattiucci 23 FG, 9:58
Colquitt County: Sihiem King 26 run (Vega kick) 8:53
Colquitt County: Pollard 3 run (Vega kick) 4:50
Dacula: Kelan Fraise 23 pass from Aaron Grove (Mattiucci kick) 7:36
Dacula: Bryce Bartlett 23 INT return (Mattiucci kick) 6:41
Colquitt County: Mobley 11 run (Vega kick) 4:42
Colquitt County ---- Dacula
First downs 18 ---- 9
Rushes-yards 22-203 ---- 40-69
Passing yards 264 ---- 112
Comp-Att-Int 20-35-3 ---- 8-20-1
Fumbles-lost 1-1 ---- 3-1
Penalties-yards 8-75 ---- 4-30
RUSHING — Colquitt County: King 15-127; O’Shay Williams 1-35; Pollard 4-29; Mobley 2-12. Dacula: Jakob Brashear 6-33; Jacqua Evangelister 7-22; Grove 10-9; Bijon Sirleaf 2-3; Josh Lovin 1-3; Fraise 11-0; Kevin Ficklin 3-(-1).
PASSING — Colquitt County: Mobley 19-33-3, 252; Chase Parrish 1-2-0, 12. Dacula: Grove 8-19-1, 112; Evangelister 0-1-0, 0.
RECEIVING — Colquitt County: Pollard 6-127; Ty Lee 7-70; Todd Boyd 4-52; Marquan Greene 1-11; King 1-7; Javonta Woods 1-(-3). Dacula: Fraise 4-46; Lovin 1-42; Ficklin 2-22; Brashear 1-2.
HIGHLIGHTS: Dacula vs. Colquitt County Football
Highlights from the Dacula vs. Colquitt County football game on Nov. 29, 2013.