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End of the road
SEB falls to Appling
110714 SEB FOOTBALL 02 W
Appling County receiver Brandon Jones, center, snags a touchdown pass from quarterback Jason Dhaliwal between Southeast Bulloch defenders Klayton Carter, left, and Ryan Ruarks Friday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Box Score
ACHS    7    0    19    8 — 34
SEB    7    14     0    6 — 27

First Quarter
SEB_Wells 14 run (Cribbs kick), 5:34
ACHS_Jones 10 pass from Dhaliwal (Martinez kick), 1:00
Second Quarter
SEB_Walker 40 run (Cribbs kick), 8:15.
SEB_Wells 49 run (Cribbs kick), 3:35.
Third Quarter
ACHS_Crosby 69 kickoff return (Martinez kick), 11:48.
ACHS_Jones 2 pass from Dhaliwal (kick failed), 6:42.
ACHS_Fedrick 20 run (conversion failed), 3:34.
Fourth Quarter
SEB_Walker 1 run (conversion failed), 7:21.
ACHS_Moore 15 pass from Dhaliwal (Dhaliwal run), 6:47.

    ACHS    SEB
First Downs    20    22
Total Yards    375    354
Rushes-Yards    29-187    56-321
Passing    188    33
Comp-Att-Int    15-23-1    1-3-0
Turnovers    1    0
Penalties-Yards    12-80    3-12

RUSHING_ACHS, Fedrick 23-145, TD. SEB, Walker, 26-117, 2 TDs, Wells 8-99, 2 TDs, Davis, 8-90.
PASSING_ACHS, Dhaliwal 15-23-188-1-1. SEB, Wells 1-3-33-0-0.
RECEIVING_ACHS, Jones 7-66, 2 TDs, Moore 4-75, TD. SEB, Collins, 1-33.

BROOKLET - The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets rushed for 321 yards but unfortunately, with a spot in the GHSA Class AAA playoffs on the line, it wasn't enough.

Appling County answered the SEB rushing attack with 187 rushing yards and 188 passing from Jason Dhaliwal, as the Pirates won the Region 1-AAA play-in game 34-27 on Friday at Fred Shaver Field, and advanced to the state playoffs.

It was the end of the line for the Yellow Jackets (5-5) who saw a five-game winning streak snapped.

On the final drive of the game, a pass through the hands of a diving Klayton Carter on fourth-and-16 stopped the SEB chance of tying or taking the lead.

"The guys played as hard as I've ever seen us play," SEB coach Pat Collins said. "The credit goes to Appling County. They made enough plays to win. That's a talented football team."

Appling (7-3) was led on the ground by Cassius Fedrick, who rushed for 145 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown, but it was Dhaliwal's three passing touchdowns - the last of which came on a 15-yard screen pass to Devon Moore - that sealed the win.

Southeast Bulloch was led by freshman Chase Walker (26-117), who found the end zone twice, but it was the senior leadership that kept the team focused when a 21-7 halftime melted away after 19 unanswered points by the Pirates in the third quarter.

"My hat's off to those boys," Collins said about his 18 seniors. "We started out the season 0-4, and without some quality senior leadership, our team would have been in trouble. But those guys had worked hard, invested greatly and they knew how to stay the course."

The ACHS comeback started at the beginning of the third quarter, when Keelan Crosby returned the opening kickoff 69 yards for a score.

The Pirates got two more scores - one through the air on fourth-and-goal and another from 20 yards out by Fedrick - before Walker stopped the bleeding with a score that gave the Jackets a 27-26 lead.

SEB scored on three of its first four possessions of the game, and the fifth ended in a blocked 35-yard field goal attempt by Andrew Cribbs, who made all of his three extra-point attempts.

The Jackets drew first blood on a 12-play drive to open the game that went 69 yards and ate 6 minutes, 24 seconds of clock. Quarterback Jaylon Wells (8-99, two touchdowns) kept it around the left side and was escorted to the end zone by blocker Michael Davis for a 14-yard run and the game's first points.

Davis added 90 rushing yards for SEB.

"People question what we do and how we do it, as far as running the ball, running the ball, running the ball, but we were right where we wanted to be until the end," Collins said. "I thought we did a tremendous job blocking."

Appling tried to stop itself on its first drive by racking up 35 penalty yards, but all that meant was that the Pirates put 106 yards of offense in the books on the way to a 10-yard touchdown pass from Dhaliwal to Brandon Jones.

Appling appeared to break serve when it forced an SEB punt, but an interception by Carter gave the ball back to the Jackets.

Walker ran the next play from scrimmage 40 yards to the house.

Wells ran one in from 49 yards out on the next SEB possession to give the Yellow Jackets a 21-7 halftime advantage.

The Jackets lose some key contributors on the offensive line to graduation, but Walker, and juniors Wells and Davis, will be back in 2015.

Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-4908.