December 12, 2018. On that date nearly five years ago, the Milton Eagles won their first, and to this date, only state championship in the program’s now-74-year history. The opponent that night, the favored Colquitt County Packers, the team they will host tonight in the quarterfinals of the GHSA Class 7A playoffs. This will be their first meeting since that night.

Our Emmy Award-winning GPB Sports coverage kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on GPB-TV Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Ben Reaves

Milton coach Ben Reaves was the offensive coordinator when the Eagles last tangled with Colquitt County.

Credit: Maya Backman, GPB

Head coach Ben Reaves, who was the offensive coordinator for coach Adam Clack at the time, says that 2018 state championship game was the ultimate example of sticking to the game plan. Milton’s goal was to stay as close as possible in first half against Colquitt’s high-powered offense and then play keep-away in the second half. Reaves says his team’s belief and confidence in the game plan grew as the game went on.

So did the Packers’ frustration. At the end of the night Milton had won 14-13. While the Eagles celebrated, many of the Colquitt County players walked to the locker room without shaking hands and then-coach Rush Propst, in what would be his final game as Packers coach, begrudgingly stepped onto the podium to “accept” the state runner-up trophy.

Propst would later tell many, including GPB Sports, that the Packers were the better team that night and would win that game again, many times, if they played it again. Well, that opportunity hasn’t happened, until tonight. Propst is long gone, but that sentiment remains with many in the Packer Nation.

That hasn’t been lost on the Eagles. So, when the Maxwell projections were published in GHSF Daily this week and it showed that Colquitt County was a 13-point favorite, Reaves says he “just smiled.”

Current Packers coach Sean Calhoun has nothing to do with all that past. He was the Carrollton head coach at the time, but he was the OC for Propst in two of the greatest seasons in Packers history -- when Colquitt went 30-0 over the 2014-15 seasons with two state championships and a 2015 national championship. Those Packers teams scored 1,387 points and averaged 46.2 points per game.

Since returning to Moultrie, the Packers have gone 25-1 under Calhoun with their only loss coming to his former team Carrollton 35-27 in the 2022 state semifinals.

All of this may lead you to believe there is bad blood between the two programs but if there is -- not saying there is -- there certainly isn’t any between these two head coaches. In fact, they were once roommates back in their assistant coaching days at Berrien and then Collins Hill.

So, on this Thanksgiving weekend, I’m giving thanks for great competition, in the spirit of good sportsmanship and the blessing to bring you once again another GPB Sports Playoff Friday in Georgia.

So that’s the game preview. Let’s take a look at the top prospects to watch this evening.

Colquitt County Packers

Ny Carr, Colquitt County

Ny Carr, Colquitt County

Credit: 247 Sports

Ny Carr – 5-11, 165, Senior – Committed to Miami October 8th after decommitting from Georgia and also has 23 other offers – Highest Ranking: Consensus 4-Star and Rivals No. 8 WR in the country 2024 – Career Stats: 166-3,102 yards receiving with 43 TD. Coach Calhoun: “Prouder with what he’s done off the field.” Rebounded from coach suspension last year and “he’s been incredible ever since.” 20 TD receptions this season alone.

Landen Thomas – 6-4, 236, Senior – Committed to Florida State April 19th after decommitting from Georgia and also has 28 other offers – Highest Ranking: Consensus 4-Star and ESPN No. 1 TE in the country 2024. Career Stats: 108-1,854 receiving yards with 19 TD. Packers will also use him in short yardage run situations to carry the ball. Calhoun: “What the stats don’t show is how good of a run blocker he is.” Packers average 206 rushing YPG.

Tyshon Reed – 6-5, 211, Senior – Committed to Duke June 11th over 16 other offers including Northwestern and Ole Miss – Highest Ranking: Consensus 3-Star Edge 2024 – 2023 Stats: 74 TT - 10 TFL – team-leading 4 QBS - 15 QBH. Up until 10th grade, just played basketball. When Coach Calhoun arrived, he asked his team “who’s walking the halls that needs to be out playing football.” Tyshon was the answer. Moved to bandit position (LB/DE) this season after playing on DL as junior.

Nick Pace – 5-10, 176, Senior – Six offers including Middle Tennessee, Georgia Southern and Charlotte – Highest Ranking: ESPN 3-Star LB 2024 – 2023 Stats: Team-leading 139 TT - 92 Solo - 5 TFL - 2 QBS - 1 INT. Brother Charlie was leading rusher for the Packers last season. Calhoun: “If he were 6-0, he would have 20 offers.”

Neko Fann – 5-10, 160, Senior QB – Committed to Middle Tennessee November 5th over 5 other offers including Alabama State and Austin Peay. Career Stats: 471-766 passing - 7,483 yards - 93 TD - 15 INT - Career Rushing: 153-1,161 yards - 7 TD. Calhoun: “Compare him to Nick in that if he were 6-1, he’d be a 4-Star.”

Jaden Fowler – 6-3, 200, Senior WR – Committed to Wofford July 22nd over four other offers including Sewanee and Mississippi Valley State.

Amari Wilson – 6-2, 242, Junior Edge – Five offers including Iowa State, App State and East Carolina – 2023 Stats: 63 TT – 3 QB Sacks - Team-leading 19 TFL and 26 QBH – Calhoun: “Dominate defensive lineman. Can play any position on the DL.” Played 0-Nose as sophomore last season.

Khalil Collins – 6-2, 295, Junior OL – Offered by Troy – Diagnosed with illness over the summer that was zapping him of his energy and did not play until seventh game of the season. His return has helped solidify Packers OL. Calhoun: “He looks the way you want your OL to look.”

Zay Williams – 5-10, 168, Senior WR – Four offers including Southern Illinois – 2023 Stats: 43-712 yards receiving with 8 TD. Calhoun: “He’s been our X-factor.” Grown from inconsistent junior WR to become big playmaker as a senior.

Jay’Den Williams – 6-1, 265, Senior OL – Five offers including Albany State and Stetson – Two-Year Starter – True Center – Parents cook for the team twice a week.

Ja’Quavian “Turk” Daniels – 6-1, 272, Senior OL – Four offers including Shorter and Sewanee – Four-year starter – Has played every snap since the ninth grade.

Will Madison – 6-1, 170, Senior SAF – Offered by Sewanee – 2023 Stats: 24 TT, 1 INT.

Ja’Nas Daniels – 5-10, 246, Senior OL – Offered by Reinhardt – Nickname J-Nasty. Calhoun: “5-10 maybe on his tippy toes.”

Xavier Nickerson – 6-1, 262, Senior OL – Offered by Reinhardt – First-year starter as senior – Rebounded from knee injury that caused him to miss junior season.

Brett Fitzgerald – 5-11, 185, Junior – Highest Ranking: Chris Sailer Kicking 4.5 Star Kicker 2025 – Comes from family of kickers, who all like him wore No. 88. Brother Ryan record-setting kicker for the Packers who went on to kick for Florida State.

Milton Eagles

Ryan Ghea – 6-5, 240, Junior – Committed to Auburn November 12th over 41 Offers including Ole Miss and Georgia Tech – Highest Rating: Rivals 2025 4-Star and No. 10 TE in the country – Career Stats: 36-376 receiving yards with 3 TD. Coach Reaves: “Probably some pressure to commit to Miami and go there with QB Luke Nickel but hit it off with Auburn staff and loved the family vibe. Did his due diligence.”

C.J. Wiley, Milton

C.J. Wiley, Milton

Credit: 247 Sports

C.J. Wiley – 6-4, 195, Junior – 22 Offers including Georgia, Michigan and Florida State – Highest Rating – On3 2025 4-Star and No. 32 WR in the country – 2023 Stats: 51-1,246 receiving yards (5th most GHSA and No. 1 7A) - 24.4 avg - 12 Total TD - 103.8 YPG. Son of former LSU star and seven-year NFL DE (including two with the Falcons) Chuck Wiley. Reaves: “You could make strong argument that he should be 5-Star.”

Debron Gatling – 6-2, 185, Senior – Committed to Texas A&M December 11, 2022, over 42 other offers including Alabama and Georgia – Highest Rating: Rivals 2024 4-Star WR – Career Stats: 187-2,599 receiving yards with 31 TD – Reaves: “Teams constantly do things to try and take him out of the game plan. He’s due to have big night.”

Luke Nickel – 6-2, 200, Junior – Committed to Miami August 11th over 21 other offers including Georgia Tech and Florida State – Highest Rating: Rivals 2025 4-Star and No. 20 QB in the country – Career Stats: 404-649 passing, 5,493 yards, 54 TD, 10 INT – 2023 Stats: 2,986 yards passing which is fifth in GHSA and No. 1 7A with 30 TD and just 2 INT. Last Game: 20-27 passing for 298 yards and 4 TD (all 4 to Wiley) in 42-21 second round win vs Collins Hill. Calhoun: Thing that impresses me most is he continues to show how tough he is. Stands in to complete the pass even though he knows he’s going to end-up on his back.

Dylan Lewis – 6-0, 180, Junior – Committed to Tennessee October 12th over 20 other offers including Clemson and Auburn – Highest Rating: On3 2025 3-Star CB – 2023 Stats: 4 INT are No. 6 in 7A. Reaves: Can lock down WR at the line of scrimmage because of his length and can really disrupt passing game

Ty Redmond – 6-2, 175, Junior – Committed to Tennessee November 19th over 10 other offers including NC State and Ohio State – Highest Rating: 247 Sports 2025 3-Star CB – His commitment last week means that both Milton junior CB are now committed to the Vols. Strong connection with former Georgia Bulldogs DC, now Tennessee Secondary Coach Willie Martinez. Coach Calhoun joked that we ought to be able to cover somebody with two SEC CB.

Jacorey Stewart – 6-1, 210, Senior – Committed to Kansas June 11th over 12 other offers including Georgia Tech and Texas A&M – Highest Rating: Consensus 2024 3-Star and ESPN No. 37 LB in the country – Career Stats: 168 TT - 29.5 TFL - 10 QBS – 2 INT. Reaves: Recommitted to being coached. Had kind of lost that hunger. LB Coach Justin Miller (Clemson/NY Jets) has really done good job of molding him.

Ma’khi Jones – 5-11, 180, Junior – 10+ Offers including Penn State, Boston College, and Syracuse – Highest Rating: Rivals 2025 3-Star Safety – Stats: 51 TT, 4 PBU.

Amauri Anderson – 5-9, 188, Junior – Seven offers including Miami, Arkansas and Ole Miss – Highest Rating: Rivals 2025 3-Star RB – Stats: 100-441 yards rushing with 3 TD.

Caleb Bell – 6-3, 244, Junior DL – Offered by NC State, Missouri, and Indiana – Son of former Georgia Bulldogs star Kendrell Bell who played 7 seasons in the NFL and was 2001 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Stats: 63 TT - 10 TFL – Team-leading 8 QB Sacks and 18 QBH with 17-yard INT TD – Reaves: “He’s unblockable.”

Marc Essley – 5-9, 160, Senior WR – Four offers including Tulane, Indiana and Toledo – Career Stats: 131-1,610 receiving yards with 21 TD – Reaves: “Energizer bunny. Looking to score on every play.”

Caleb Ellis – 6-2, 265, Junior DL – Offered by Georgia Southern and Indiana – Stats: 33 TT, 4 TFL – May see him helping on the OL tonight.

T.J. Lester – 5-9, 190, Junior RB – Offered by Eastern Kentucky and Indiana – Returning from injury suffered three weeks ago in Milton’s win over Lambert on GPB Sports Football Fridays in Georgia. Stats: Leading rusher 114-650 yards - 5.7 avg - 7 TD. He and his brother Tristan (listed below) are the sons of the late former Pittsburgh Steelers FB Tim Lester whose claim to fame was as the lead blocker for Hall of Fame RB Jerome Bettis. Reaves: Hard to say but he could end up being even better than former Eagles greats Peyton Barber (Auburn/NFL) and Jordan McDonald (UCF). Never seen anybody get a square hit on him.

Jack Lawson – 6-1, 190, Senior LB/WR – Committed to Carnegie Mellon over offers from Stetson and Johns Hopkins. Plans on becoming an architect or engineer. Coach Reaves jokes with him and tells him “Come back and build us an indoor facility. There’s nothing he can’t do.” Career Stats: 219 TT – 21 TFL – 7.5 QB Sacks.

Tristan Lester – 5-11, 180, Sophomore SAF – Offered by Eastern Kentucky – Younger brother of T.J. – Stats: 63 TT – 3 TFL – 1 INT – 7 PBU – Going to be really good.

Faisal Sokoya – 5-10, 170, Senior DB – Offered by VMI – Plays CB or nickel – Had 95-yard fumble recovery TD run three weeks ago in Milton’s win over Lambert that sealed the Eagles 37-16 win and sixth straight region championship.

Riley Rushing – 6-3, 292, Senior OL – Offered by Lenoir-Rhyne – Second-year starter on OL that has consistently gotten better as the season has gone on.

So, join Wayne Gandy, Jon Nelson, Hannah Goodin, Niki Noto Palmer and me for our Emmy Award-winning Football Fridays in Georgia Game of the Week as the No. 8 Milton Eagles host the No. 2 Colquitt County Packers starting at 7:30 p.m. Remember at halftime Hannah will highlight this week’s Make That Kid an Offer nominees.

You can watch Football Fridays in Georgia in so many ways. You have traditional TV (GPB), online at, GPB Sports app, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Twitch.

Now if somehow, you miss it live or just want to watch it again, don’t worry, we replay the entire Football Fridays in Georgia Game of the Week at 11:30 p.m. or you can watch it on demand anytime at 

Enjoy your Playoff Friday in Georgia!