The Southeast Bulloch High School flag football team knows nothing but success.
In the three years since they started playing flag football, the Yellow Jackets are a perfect 61-0. Monday afternoon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta they have the opportunity for a rare three-peat as they take on North Oconee for the state championship.
“Winning one championship is special, winning two is even more, but winning three would set us apart from other teams,” said Southeast Bulloch coach Marci Cochran. “That would put us in rare company, not only in flag football, but in all sports here in the state of Georgia. We are just all so excited for the chance to play for another championship and to play in ‘The Benz’ for the first time.”
The game is set for 2 p.m. Monday and will be televised live on Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB).
After winning their first championship, the Jackets returned all but one starter, so Cochran was confident entering the 2022 season. But for the 2023 season, SEB needed to replace five key starters off their championship team – a group that included three all-state players. Cochran was a little concerned how the new players would fit in.
“Losing those seniors, we had to have people step up quickly,” Cochran said. “They all played primarily on the junior varsity team so we weren’t sure how they would handle the big stage. Every game we have played, I feel they have gotten better, and we have continued to build chemistry. It started over the summer playing team camps, which was very beneficial, and has continued throughout the season.”
A look at the numbers shows this year’s squad is just about at the same level on offense and defense as the 2022 team. In 2022, the offense averaged 25 points per game and the defense allowed only two points per contest. This season, the Jacket offense is averaging 26 points per game, while the defense has held their opponents to just over three points per game.
“I don’t really see too much of a difference,” Cochran said. “I think what has really helped us to reload is the fact that we have been able to get some of the younger players a chance to play when we have been up so much toward the end of the game. I think that helps them feel more comfortable when they had at least some varsity playing time last season.”
Monday afternoon in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Jackets will take their 22-0 record up against a tough opponent – the Titans of North Oconee, who come in with a record of 15-2.
The Titans have won their last four games, including impressive victories over Calvary and Columbus. They are averaging 20 points per game on offense and are allowing just under six points per contest.
“They have a few pretty impressive athletes, including their quarterback,” Cochran said. “They play a 3-3-1 defensive scheme and that is something we haven’t seen all year, so that will take some adjusting to. We have tried to simulate that in our practices the past few days. We know anyone who makes it to the championship game has to be good and we are expecting a battle Monday.”
In the playoffs, Southeast Bulloch defeated South Effingham, 33-0, Jenkins, 46-0, Therrell, 20-0, and New Hampstead, 20-14, to reach the final. North Oconee beat Washington, 35-0, Northside Columbus, 31-0, Calvary Day, 6-2, and Columbus, 12-6, to reach the title game.