Aug. 26—MOULTRIE — Neko Fann and Ny Carr put on a little pitching and catching clinic on Friday on Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium that led Colquitt County to a 47-27 victory over Stockbridge and a 2-0 record to start the 2023 season.
Fann completed 18-of-31 passes for 228 yards and four touchdowns, all of which went to fellow senior Ny Carr.
The Georgia-bound Carr made 11 catches, two or three of which might already be making the social media rounds. They were good for 152 yards.
The Packers play was uneven at times, but at those times, the Fann-to-Carr private party lifted their teammates and discouraged a game group of Tigers.
"Neko and Ny have really good chemistry," Packers coach Sean Calhoun understated after the game.
The four-touchdown pass effort was the sixth such game for Fann, who now has 67 scoring throws in his career, leaving just three behind Chase Parrish's school record.
Carr has now caught 123 passes as a Packer and 29 of them have gone for touchdowns.
Only Colquitt County tight ends coach Kiel Pollard has more touchdown receptions — 34 — as a Packer.
And Colquitt needed the boost of their senior passing combo on a night that Stockbridge just refused to surrender.
Carr's final touchdown catch with 4:40 left in the third quarter, which was set up by a 44-yard scamper by Fann, put the Packers up 44-14, giving them the 30-point lead that would enable the running clock to kick in in the fourth quarter.
But Stockbridge drove 80 to score with 1:49 left to nix the possibility of the mercy rule.
With North Carolina State-committed and hard-running Jayden Scott carrying the ball for 149 yards, the Tigers would never let the Packers rest easy.
After the Packers were forced to punt away the first possession of the game, Stockbridge served notice and drove 64 yards in just eight plays to score on a 4-yard run by Scott.
"That they had some early success didn't surprise me," Calhoun said. "Their running back is going to N.C. State for a reason. They've got a big offensive line, big tight ends.
"And our Achilles heel might be teams that run right at us. But can they do it consistently for four quarters? We made some great adjustments and at times played it real well."
As if offended by the Tigers scoring first, the Packers got points on each of their next four possessions: Carr scoring on a 19-yard tunnel-screen pass from Fann, Brett Fitzgerald kicking a 22-yard field goal, Carr scoring again on another 19-yard pass from Fann and Ramsey Dennis getting his first touchdown of the season on a 41-yard run that brought some Packer fans to their feet.
Stockbridge scored again on a short Scott run with 7:45 left in the half to pull to within 10, but the Fann-to-Carr connection matched that touchdown with the third of their own and the Packers were up 31-14 at the break.
The Packers scored on a 1-yard Day'Shawn Brown run and a final pass from Fann to Carr on their first two possessions of the second half to put the game out of reach, although the Tigers refused to acknowledged it.
The Packers have been slowed by injuries on both the offensive and defensive fronts, but have had some unheralded players fill the gaps admirably.
"We just fight and scrap and claw," Calhoun said.
The two-deep running back corps of Brown and Dennis appears capable of keeping defenses from focusing too much on Fann and his merry band of receivers.
Brown had 161 yards in the season-opening win over Dutch Fork and 70 more against Stockbridge. Dennis performed as if he were intent on continuing the Packer running back legacy of jersey No. 22, running for 86 yards.
"It's good to have that one-two punch," Calhoun said. "On a couple of his runs, Ramsey Dennis was breaking tackles, just bulldozing people."
Make that a one-two-three punch. Fann led the Packers in rushing with 95 yards on just five totes.
Stockbridge won 10 games last season and reached the Class 4A quarterfinals.
Although 0-2 now, the Tigers could have another deep run in the playoffs.
"This was a good team win for us," Calhoun said. "Offensively, defensively, special teams, we did some really good things in all three phases. But we also did some things we have stop doing."
The Packers, now 2-0, will get on the buses for first time this season next Friday when they travel to meet Tift County, which has dropped its first two games of the season, including a 52-16 loss to Dutchtown on Friday at Brodie Field.
Tift opened with a 38-13 loss at Coffee.
Also, on Friday, Camden County lost to Brunswick 21-17; Richmond Hill fell to Ware County 28-7; Valdosta defeated Cook 37-20; and the Lowndes-Gadsden County (Fla.) game was postponed by weather and was scheduled to begin at noon on Saturday at Martin Stadium.
Lee County, which will travel to Moultrie to meet the Packers on Sept. 8, defeated Hapeville 51-14 and is now 2-0.