Area high schools have released their 2020 football schedules. Plenty of questions remain as to what the season will look like, but with the release of the schedules we are going to take a look at the opponents for our schools in Bulloch County.
The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets finished the 2019 season with an overall record of 6-5, and were knocked out in the opening round of the state playoffs by Crisp County. During reclassification the Jackets were initially bumped up to Class-AAAA but appealed, and were allowed to remain in AAA.
With Benedictine, Jenkins and Islands all moving up, it looked as though Southeast Bulloch would be the favorite to win the region, but the late addition of perennial power Liberty County should give the Jackets some strong competition.
August 21 vs. Screven County — Southeast Bulloch will open the 2020 campaign against Screven County for the third straight season. The Jackets and Gamecocks split the past two years, with the Jackets winning 28-21 in 2018, and the Gamecocks squeaking out a 26-23 win last year in Sylvania. “This has been a great way to start our season the past two years,” said Southeast Bulloch coach Barrett Davis. “We get to find out right out of the gate what kind of team we are against a very good team, and we usually get a good gate as well.”
August 28th at Brantley County — The Jackets first road game will be a long trip to Nahunta as the Jackets renew their rivalry with former region foe Brantley County. The Herons were 5-6 last season, and were beaten in the opening round of the state AAA playoffs by Peach County 19-0. “This will be a bit of a drive, but we were really searching for some games,” Davis said. “We both lost a lot of starters from a year ago, so we think this will be a good matchup for us.”
September 4 at Telfair County — The Jackets continue to rack up frequent driver miles with a trip to McRae to take on Telfair County. The Trojans are coming off a 4-6 campaign, and are coming off three straight 4-win seasons. The last time these two teams met was in 2013 with the Jackets coming out on top 35-26. “I know we haven’t played them too much in the past,” Davis said. It’s another team that was hit hard by graduation, and another team that was looking hard to find a game within a couple hours.”
September 18 vs. Grovetown — The Jackets and the Warriors will meet for the first time this season. Grovetown is a member of region 3-AAAAAA and were 4-6 last season. The Warriors advanced to the state playoffs in each of the previous three seasons under head coach Damien Postell. “Grovetown is a team we used to play a lot when I was coaching in the Augusta area,” Davis said. “Coach Postell and I have been friends for a while. We were one home game short at that point in getting the schedule together, and we were glad they were willing to come to our place. We will return the favor next season. They are a 6-A opponent and will be a good test.”
October 2 vs. Liberty County — The Jackets open their region schedule with arguably their toughest opponent. The Panthers are coming off a 6-3 season, and were knocked off by Jackson in the opening round of the state playoffs 28-11. The last time these two teams met was in the opening round of the 2018 state playoffs, as the Panthers won 38-14 in Brooklet. “We got a good look at how good they are in the playoffs my first year,” Davis said. “They are very athletic, and well coached. I’m glad we get them at home, and early in the schedule.”
October 9 vs. Savannah High — The rest of the 2020 schedule includes all of the teams that were members of region 3-AAA this past year. Last season the Jackets knocked off the Blue Jackets 40-7 in Brooklet. Savannah High ended the 2019 season with a record of 2-8.
October 16 at Johnson — The Yellow Jackets defeated the Atom Smashers 41-14 in their regular season finale in Savannah. Johnson finished the 2019 season with a record of 3-7 with all three wins coming in region play.
October 23 vs. Beach — The Bulldogs ended up having to forfeit all their games from 2019, due to playing with ineligible players. Beach had actually won six games on the field, including a 28-25 win against Southeast Bulloch, before those six games were forfeited at the end of the regular season. The forfeit to the Jackets ended up clinching a playoff spot for Southeast Bulloch.
October 30 at Windsor Forest — The Knights are the only team in the current region that actually beat the Yellow Jackets last season. Windsor Forest knocked off Southeast Bulloch 21-13 in Savannah on their way to a 6-5 season. The Knights nearly pulled off an upset in the opening round of the state, before finally falling to 2nd seeded Cook 7-6.
November 6 at Groves — The Rebels have won a total of three games over the past three years, and if not for a forfeit victory against Beach, they would have been winless. Last year the Jackets knocked off the Rebels 49-7.
“I feel like Windsor Forest and Liberty will be the teams we will have the biggest test with this season,’ Davis said. “With losing a lot of seniors we tried to get some teams on our schedule that will give us a good idea of what we need to work on come region time.”
We will continue to preview our other Bulloch County schools' schedules in the weeks to come.