Thomas County Central didn’t have a game this weekend but played a key role in Colquitt County’s 17-14 loss to Lowndes Friday night, according to Packers head coach Rush Propst.
Propst ranted on his team’s postgame radio show about how Central coaches were on the sidelines and in the Vikings pressbox stealing signs in an effort to aid Lowndes.
“There’s no way that should happen,” Propst told the Moultrie Observer, “and we let it happen.”
With their team enjoying a bye week, Central head coach Bill Shaver and assistant Mike Singletary were on the sidelines at Mack Tharpe Memorial Stadium Friday night. Shaver responded to the accusations.
“Coach (Mike) Singletary and I were standing down in the very corner of the end zone with our principal, our assistant principal, the superintendent from Lowndes, the principal from Colquitt, the athletic director from Colquitt,” Shaver said. “We were all having great conversations down there. At some point in time after Colquitt scored their first touchdown on a blocked punt, then the head coach was upset that we were standing down in the very corner of the end zone right beside the fence. That’s all we did.
“We went to watch a ball game because all the teams that we play next were 2 1/2 hours away from us and we had practice (Friday afternoon). We didn’t have a chance to make it to Columbus or to Leesburg to watch one of our future opponents.
“Coach Singletary and I wanted to go watch a good high school football game. He had sideline passes from Lowndes. I was standing outside the fence talking to coach Singletary before the game and the principal from Colquitt invited me to come stand in there with coach Singletary and coach (Ken) Harper and Mr. (Frank) Delaney. Their superintendent, Wes Taylor, was in my wedding. He invited me, too. I was standing down there with a bunch of friends watching a ball game as far away from the game as you can get.
“As a matter of fact, somebody sitting in the stands was closer than I was.”
Central assistant coach Buzz Payne, a former Colquitt assistant under Propst, was also accused on the Georgia Varsity Sports Vent of sitting in the Lowndes pressbox with the Vikings coaching staff stealing signs.
Coach Payne was unavailable for comment.
“He had the night off. We didn’t have anything assigned for him to do. What coach Payne does in his own time is his business,” Shaver said. “I don’t know what coach Payne did. They fired coach Payne two years ago. They played against coach Payne last year when he was at Valdosta.
“If coach Payne could steal signs, then we sure would have stolen from them and tried to hold them underneath 35 points (this year when we played them).
“They couldn’t move the ball on Lowndes. They shouldn’t blame anybody for not being able to move the ball except themselves.”
Central lost to Colquitt County 35-33 on Aug. 31, its only loss of the season. The two teams are not scheduled to play next season. Valdosta has replaced Colquitt County on Central’s schedule.