Following the end of the region 3-3A tournament Wednesday night, all four qualified schools in Bulloch County were cemented in their seeds in the GHSA state playoffs.
Both boys and girls teams from Statesboro and Southeast Bulloch will play next week after SEB’s games Wednesday night set them in their 3A seeds. The SEB ladies (9-7-1, 6-2) defeated Windsor Forest 6-1 to earn the three seed, while the boys lost 6-1 to Savannah Arts to land the four seed.
SEB defeated Windsor Forest by the same score on March 13 and two goals from Sarah Clark helped the Lady Jackets secure the three seed to slate them against Crisp County. Crisp (7-6-2, 4-1-1) hails from region 2-3A and are 7-6-2 on the season with one more game left to play.
Noting how much better her girls had played down the stretch of the season, head coach Kristin Barnhill is confident in her team’s shot at pulling an upset as the lower seed.
“I think we feeling great about how we’re playing at this point in the season,” Barnhill said. “We’ve finally figured out our style and I think it’ll carry us in the playoffs.”
The SEB boys weren’t as fortunate as their female counterparts in the 3-4 game. The boys were able to notch a goal from Evan Schlierf unlike their first game with Savannah Arts, but the Panthers doubled their goal total from their initial 3-0 win on Feb. 28. The Yellow Jackets now get to join the girls team in Cordele, Ga. to face the Crisp County boys, who finished 12-6-1 and 9-0 in region play.
“We’re just going to have to prepare for another tough game,” said head coach Jonathan Graham. “I won’t know how good they’ll be until I see them on tape, but as of right now we just have to prepare like we do against a team like Savannah Arts.”
It hasn’t been announced as to whether both teams will make a deal to play both games the same day to save on travel, but as of right now the girls are set to play on Tuesday and the boys on Wednesday - both in Cordele - with times TBA.
As for Statesboro, both boys and girls teams will host their playoff games after finishing runners-up in region 2-5A. The boys cemented that spot after beating Ware County 5-0 on April 11 and finished the year 6-2 behind South Effingham. Statesboro (10-3, 6-2) beat Wayne County Tuesday 2-1 to seal their regular season and will now prepare for Dutchtown (8-4-3, 4-2) in the first round on April 28.
All three of Statesboro’s losses came to South Effingham twice (11-2-1) and Windsor Forest (15-1-1), leaving head coach David Ball to think his team’s proven they’re capable of making a strong playoff run.
“I have no doubt that we can win our first round game,” Ball said. “We’ve been fortunate to be competitive in every game we’ve played in and I think we can play with anyone we’re on the field with.”
As for the girls they earned the two seed in not as desirable a fashion in a 2-1 loss to Wayne County Tuesday in what was the de facto region title game. The Lady Blue Devils now finish the year 10-5, 6-2 in region and will host No. 3 seed Locust Grove (11-6, 6-2) from region 4-5A.
The ladies will face Locust Grove on Thursday and the boys will face Dutchtown on Friday, times TBA.