Colquitt County kicker leads Packers to state semis with upset of No. 20 Archer

Photo: Butch Dill, USA TODAY Sports

Colquitt County kicker leads Packers to state semis with upset of No. 20 Archer

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Colquitt County kicker leads Packers to state semis with upset of No. 20 Archer

Colquitt County (Moultrie, Ga.) couldn’t score a touchdown against the vaunted defense of Archer (Lawrenceville), so Packers kicker Ryan Fitzgerald stepped up.

Fitzgerald, a 5-11, 180-pound junior, provided all of Colquitt County’s points in a 12-7 upset of the No. 20-ranked Tigers in a AAAAAAA quarterfinal on Friday. It was the first meeting between Colquitt and Archer since the 2014 state championship, won 28-24 by the Packers.

Fitzgerald broke his own school record with a 60-yard field goal (off a free kick) and also nailed field goals of 47, 42 and 29 yards.

Colquitt’s defense dominated the first quarter but the Packers led only 3-0 on the strength of a 42-yard field goal by Fitzgerald.

Archer took a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter when Duke commit Taiyon Palmer got behind the Colquitt defense and Carter Peevy found him for a 55-yard touchdown pass.

Fitzgerald just missed on a chance to cut the lead just before the half when his 51-yarder went wide right, but on the Packers’ final possession of the half, he hit a rare 60-yard free kick (allowed after a fair catch) to cut the lead to 7-6.

After a scoreless third quarter, Fitzgerald gave Colquitt a 9-7 lead on a 29-yard field goal with a little over eight minutes to play. In the final moment, he hit a 47-yarder to clinch the victory.

Colquitt County improves to 10-3 while Archer falls to 12-1. It was the Packers’ ninth consecutive state appearance in a state quarterfinals, a state record.

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