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Big win has SEB pumped

            BROOKLET — The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets (1-0) sent a message to the rest of Region 3-AA on Friday night in Eastman against the Dodge County Indians. With a 25-20 win on the road against DCHS — one of eight teams in the region that was in the playoffs a year ago — the Jackets let everyone know that on this schedule, there’s no such thing as a ‘week off.’ 

            Coming off a 2-8 season, Southeast Bulloch entered 2008 as an afterthought. With a number of question marks after struggling a year ago, nobody expected the Jackets to upset an Indian team that was in 2007.

            “Heck, I think everybody was surprised,” said second-year SEB coach John Kenny. “On the road in Eastman is a pretty tough place to play. It was packed. They’ve got great tradition and I was worried about that. I knew we had a good week of practice. I knew the kids were focused and locked in before the game, and I think as the game went on they got more focused, more confident.”

            Greg Wright set the tone in the first quarter after he scooped up an Indian fumble and took it 80 yards to the house.

            It was a balanced effort from there. Running backs Tharon Davis and Shane Northcutt combined for 140 yards and two touchdowns and sophomore quarterback Dee Odum completed six of nine passes for two more scores.

            After building an 18-0 lead, Dodge County made a game of it, but the Jackets kept it on the ground to run out the clock and hold on for the victory. Clinging to a five-point advantage with Dodge driving to take the lead in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, sophomore linebacker David Pollard sacked the DCHS quarterback, forced a fumble and gave the ball back to the Jacket offense, which was a knee away from the win.

            The victory may be the boost the Jackets need as they look down the tough road ahead.

            “With all of the games being region games, a region win on the road is pretty big for us,” said Kenny. “We’re a year older. We’ve been there. We’ve been through some tough times, but I think the kids played … three and a half, maybe three good quarters of football.”

            The win has raised a lot of eyebrows, especially from fans in Brooklet. People are starting to realize that Southeast Bulloch may be a team on the rise.

            “I had a ton of kids come up and congratulate me (on Tuesday),” Kenny said, “and a bunch of parents after the game doing the same. I think there’s a little more enthusiasm and a little more excitement, which there should be.”

            The next team on the slate for SEB is Toombs County, another playoff team from 2007. As of now, the game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on Friday at Fred Shaver Field. A visit from Hurricane Hanna could push the game up to Thursday. Log on to www.statesboroherald.com for updates on the times for all of Friday’s scheduled local games.

            The game will also be televised live on statesboroherald.com

            Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9404.

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