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SEB welcomes Brantley County

SEB welcomes Brantley County

SEB welcomes Brantley County


    BROOKLET — The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets spent the first half of the season proving to everyone that they know how to win.
    This week, fans will get a chance to see how well they can rebound from a loss.
    SEB (4-1-1, 2-1 Region 1-AAA) dropped its first contest of the season last week, falling to Pierce County in Blackshear. The Jackets returned home disappointed, but still have a chance to stay right in the middle of the race for the state playoffs as Brantley County (2-4, 1-2) comes to town tonight.
    “Just being around practice this week, it’s clear that no one very much likes that feeling of losing,” SEB coach Pat Collins said. “I’m not taking anything away from Pierce County. They’re a very good team and they beat us. But we also did a lot of things — or failed to do a lot of things — that led to us losing. This week has been all about going back over the basics and getting more consistent.”
    One of the downfalls for the Jackets last week was the defense surrendering a handful of big plays.
    Pierce County quarterback Tyler Harris showed exactly why he’ll be off to SMU next season as he caught fire in the second half and led the Bears to points on seven of their nine drives.
    Brantley County runs a very similar scheme — both offensively and defensively — to Pierce. A consistent plan of attack from one week to the next should help the Jackets to be aware of whatever the Herons throw at them, but it also means that Brantley has a blueprint for how to get to SEB.
    “There are definitely areas where we need to improve this week,” Collins said. “Hopefully, we can get to the quarterback and break on passes a little better. No offense to Brantley County, but I don’t think we’ll face another quarterback like (Harris) this season.
    “Another thing we need to improve is the kicking game. Not just the kicking, but coverage and returns. That’s a vital part of each game that I haven’t been very happy with.”
    Offensively, the Jackets remain gimpy, but continue to chew up yards and put up points. SEB’s attack is far from prolific, but the Jackets are putting up points at a clip that hasn’t been seen in Brooklet in the last decade. The Jackets’ four 30-point showings in just six games this season matches the same total of 30-point performances in all combined previous years stretching back to 2006.
    The offense will likely be without running back Antonio McMillan once again tonight.
    McMillan missed the first two games of the season with a knee injury and sat out last week with an ankle sprain.
    In his absence, Tyler Epps will see an increased workload an will likely surpass the 1,000 yard mark — he has 950 entering tonight — for the second time in his career.
    “We’re dinged up, but we have been for much of the season,” Collins said. “And we always have the same outlook. Different guys might have to come in and play, but we expect good execution and performance no matter who is on the field.”
    A win tonight, combined with a loss by Johnson of Savannah, would give the Jackets a two-game lead in the loss column in the region standings. If that plays out, Southeast Bulloch could very well find itself in position to clinch a state playoff berth next week when Beach comes to Brooklet.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.

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