It’s been a long time since the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets have won a state playoff game—43 years to be exact.
Back in 1973, SEB’s football team hoisted the state title, going undefeated under head coach Fred Shaver. That year completed the school’s back-to-back state football championship run.
Despite a dreary overcast and rainy conditions for practice Monday, the season still looks bright in Brooklet. Yellow Jackets head coach Pat Collins said this year the team wants to break the streak and win a state playoff game.
“We have made goals this season and we want to strive towards them. If you set a goal very low you’ll probably fall to it, but if you set a goal very high, you have an opportunity to strive and stretch and reach that goal,” Collins said. “The last time Southeast Bulloch won a state playoff game was back in 1973 when they won state. You’re talking about 43 years without winning a state playoff game.”
The Yellow Jackets came close to breaking the streak two years ago when the team reached the state playoffs. However, SEB was bested by Jefferson County in the first round 32-29. The team had a chance for redemption the following year, but just missed the playoffs, losing to Appling County in the final game of the season 34-27.
“We came close before and we can do it. This group of seniors set a goal way back to win a state playoff game and that will be another step of where we want this program to go,” Collins said. “We have 77 boys who are dedicated to the cause and we feel good about our team chemistry and we feel good about our boys and the work they’re putting in.”
A little drizzle didn’t stop the team from practicing Monday afternoon. Coach Collins said his team had to make a few adjustments to accommodate the weather, but noted “the schedule doesn’t care if it’s raining or not.”
The Yellow Jackets will host a scrimmage game against cross-town rivals Statesboro High School to start the season Aug. 13.
SEB sophomore and last season’s leading rusher Chase Walker said he was excited to put on the pads and get back on the field for the start of a new season.
Walker, who rushed for over 1,300 yards on the ground a year prior, said this year’s team has plenty of potential.
“We had a really good team last year so this year we have to step it up. We all just have to step up our game,” Walker said. “We have a team goal to win our first state playoff game in 43 years and we’ve gotten pretty close the last two years. This year we want to set a mark and get there.”
Walker said he wants to rush for over 2,000 yards this season. Last year the Yellow Jackets started the year on a four-game losing streak, but won five straight before losing to Appling County for a spot in the playoffs.
“We’ve been looking pretty good so far, but we have to keep grinding and keep working hard. We have to do more than the other teams are doing,” Walker said.