BROOKLET – What was supposed to be a rebuilding year is quickly turning into a season to remember as the Southeast Bulloch boys are still alive entering the second round of the Georgia High School association state soccer playoffs.
After grabbing the No. 3 seed out of Region 3-AA, the Yellow Jackets were impressive in their opening round game of the state playoffs, erasing a 2-1 halftime deficit to blow out Region 1-AA No. 2 seed Berrien 7-3 on the road last Friday.
Now, SEB moves on to face top-seeded Pike County in another road matchup. Kickoff is slated for 5:00 and the Jackets are ready to continue their roll.
“Everyone is excited,” said SEB coach Bob Massee. “I think that the win over Berrien really boosted our confidence. We’re ready to get back out there and play again.”
After a rough 2010 season, Massee took the reigns of the program and has wasted no time transforming the Jackets into a force to be reckoned with.
This year has still had its ups and downs, but the overwhelming optimism and pride that the Jackets have shown throughout the season is making them a tough out for any team in the postseason.
At no time was that more apparent than in the locker room last Friday as SEB stood just 40 minutes away from a potential season-ending loss at Berrien.
The Jackets had every reason to be downtrodden – three different shots bounced off the goalpost in the first half – but instead returned to the field with a vengeance, pulling ahead early in the second half and coasting to a win.
“I told the guys that we would have to start playing desperate, and they did,” said Massee. “That’s probably the thing I’m most proud of on this team. At the beginning of the year, I really wasn’t sure how things would go, but we’ve improved and now these guys take a lot of pride in themselves. They fight, and fight, and fight. They don’t like losing and they won’t ever quit.”
Today will mark one of the biggest challenges the Jackets have faced as they square off against Pike County, which stormed through its region and has been in the state rankings throughout the season.
This will be the first time the two schools have seen each other, but SEB has plenty of experience with top teams, playing Dublin — one of the favorites to win state — to a tough 1-0 loss just two weeks ago.
Lady Jackets' season comes to an end
One of the best seasons in the history of girls soccer at Southeast Bulloch High School came to end early Tuesday evening, as the Lady Jackets fell to the precision passing of Pike County, 9-0, in the second round of the GHSA state Class AA playoffs.
SEB finishes the season with an 11-7 record, including a 4-3 win in the first round of the playoffs on the road over Berrien County.
Pike County improved to 13-4-2 in a season that saw them finish the regular season as the sixth-ranked team in Class AA. Pike jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and was ahead 6-0 at halftime. Pike used multiple passes to break down the SEB defense and create easy scoring opportunities.
Look for a wrap up of SEB’s season and a quick look ahead to next year later this week.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.