Valdosta had not won a region title in nearly a decade, but that fact did not stop the Wildcat faithful from turning out in droves to Bazemore-Hyder Stadium Friday night, ready for a celebration. The one problem was Colquitt County was ready to ruin the party and claim its first region title of the century. The two heavyweights felt each other out through a scoreless first quarter, but Valdosta struck first when opportunity knocked with 2:11 left in the first half.
The Wildcats recovered a muffed Packer punt, and one play later senior Shelby Wilkes hit Jerald Davis for a 28-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Valdosta would intercept Cole Seagraves’ first pass on the ensuing drive, setting up another score seconds later. Wilkes, a former Packer that transferred to Valdosta, hit Demetrius Melvin for a 14-yard score with just seconds left in the half.
In the third quarter, turnovers helped Colquitt County get back in the game. Stacey Blackwell intercepted Wilkes and returned it to the 30-yard line, setting up Willie Woodyard’s 14-yard score just minutes later. Then Dondray Copeland would strip a Wildcat runner, grab the loose ball and return it 38 yards for a score. Oscar Luna’s extra point gave Colquitt County a 14-13 lead.
Valdosta was able to strike back with just under eight to play in the fourth as Wilkes hooked up with Melvin again from 15 yards out. It looked as though the 21-14 lead would stand until Anthony Brumbley intercepted Wilkes with 3:35 to go in the game, setting up Colquitt County for one last drive. The Packers forced overtime with only 28.2 seconds remaining when Seagraves hit Ty Smith for the senior’s first and only catch of the night, a seven-yard score.
In overtime after Luna gave Colquitt a 3-0 lead, Valdosta quickly found the end zone with Terrance Foster plunging in from two yards out for a 27-24 victory. Both teams will host a playoff game next week.