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Lovejoy defeated in defensive battle

MOULTRIE — Many believed a shootout was on tap when Lovejoy visited Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium on Friday in a matchup of the Nos. 9 and 10 ranked teams in Class AAAAAA.

It turned out to be anything but.

No. 10 Colquitt County allowed just one touchdown and used two scores on trick plays to knock off the Wildcats 14-7.

The Packers raise their record to 2-1 with their second win in a row after losing their season-opener to North Gwinnett.

Colquitt expected to have its hands full with All-State running back Travis Custis, who rushed for 1,839 yards for Lovejoy last year.

And Custis looked the part in the first half, when he ran for 127 yards.

But the Packers held him to just 14 yards in the second half and except for a pass interference penalty in the end zone, could have been looking at a shutout.

With his team trailing 14-0 and facing a fourth-and-21 on the second play of the fourth quarter, Lovejoy quarterback Alejandro Bennifield threw a pass into the end zone.

But the Packers clearly interfered with the receiver and Lovejoy scored on the next play on a 12-yard pass from Bennifield to Brandon Davis.

The score cut the Packers lead in half, but the Colquitt defense stifled the Wildcats on their next two possessions.

Lovejoy’s final gasp was a fourth-and-10 at the Packers 44 with 54 seconds left.

Under heavy pressure from Octavius Jackson, Ikeem Blakely and Creig Harris, Bennifield’s pass was hurried, low and incomplete.

The Packers scored their two touchdowns in the third quarter on trick plays.

Colquitt faced a first-and-10 at its own 47 on the fourth play of the second half, when sophomore Javonta Woods took the flip in the backfield on a reverse.

Quarterback Cole Segraves led the blocking and Woods went 53 yards for the score. Will Bannister’s conversion put the Packers up 7-0 with 10:56 left in the third quarter.

Colquitt’s next drive flourished after Lovejoy was called for two personal foul penalties on one play, giving the Packers a first down at the Wildcats 23.

Maleek Lewis ran to the 14 on the next play and then Segraves found Nate Madison wide open in the end zone for the touchdown with five minutes left in the third quarter.

Madison had lined up as an eligible tackle on the play.

That was all the scoring the Packers would need.

Despite the loss, Lovejoy’s defense held Colquitt to 210 yards of offense.

Custis finished with 141 yards rushing on 19 carries.

Bennifield went 19-of-39 passes for 165 yards and the one touchdown.

Neither team could manage a score in the first half, although Lovejoy had a first-and-goal at the Colquitt 6 after a 41-yard run by Custis in the second quarter.

But after a 1-yard run and an incompletion, it appeared the Wildcats had scored on a pass to the end zone, but the play was nullified by a holding call that moved the ball back to the Packers 20.

Bennifield completed a pass on the next play, but it only took the ball back to the line of scrimmage and the Wildcats called on Jaime Nunez to attempt a field goal of 37 yards.

But it was wide right. Nunez had missed wide right on his first attempt of the game from 42 yards out at the end of Lovejoy's first possession.

Colquitt also had a touchdown called back in the second quarter, when Daniel Mobley hit a wide open Todd Boyd, who took the ball 77 yards to the end zone.

But as Lovejoy had moments earlier, Colquitt was flagged for holding and the play was nullified.

Two plays later, Mobley hit Boyd again down the field on the sideline. Boyd was ruled out off bounds and Packers coach Rush Propst complained long and vociferously to no avail.

Lovejoy is now 1-1 after opening with a 44-6 victory over Mundy’s Mill.