BROOKLET — The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets sure know how to throw a housewarming party.
SEB racked up 49 first half points en route to a 63-25 win over Montgomery County in the first game at the new Fred Shaver Field last Friday night. Thousands of fans packed the new bleachers in support of their team and the Jackets didn’t disappoint, improving to 2-0 on the season.
The win was not only a good first chapter for the new stadium, but another page written in SEB’s continuing quest to turn its program around. The Yellow Jacket team that took the field last week looked nothing like the squads that have struggled to no more than two wins in any of the last six seasons. Just a couple of weeks into the 2012 season, SEB has already met that benchmark and is looking for more.
A complete effort
As nice as the Jackets’ 21-6 win over Portal in the season opener was, SEB coach Pat Collins saw plenty of room for improvement. Despite the victory, he stressed that the execution of his team wasn’t consistent enough.
Things went smoothly from the start in the win over Montgomery County. SEB found the end zone seven times in the first two quarters and was able to rest its starters and give younger players some valuable experience throughout the entire second half.
"There were a number of factors that led to that success," said Collins. "First of all, I thought that our defense played very well and gave us opportunities. Things are always easier when you get to start a possession in your opponents’ territory. We also played more disciplined football. Penalties were a big issue in the first game and we limited ourselves to just three (against Montgomergy).
"Finally, I thought that our blocking was very much improved. We executed our assignments and gave ourselves plenty of opportunities to score."
Home, sweet home
Two years in the making, the debut of the new stadium didn’t disappoint.
Not only did the home team come away with a win, but there was a raucous crowd on hand to keep the party going well after the outcome of the game became obvious.
"It was a different atmosphere," said Collins. "The old field had served this program well, but it was time for us to get something new. Everything looked great and I’m glad that we could give all of our fans a win."
There will be plenty of chances to catch SEB on its new field this season as the Jackets play six more home games this season. Another seven home dates are also on the calendar for 2013.
The Jackets have an entire week to savor the win as they are off this Friday, but Collins won’t be content to let his team rest on their laurels.
As SEB struggled through the first two years of his tenure, Collins was encouraged by his team’s ability to shake off losses and continue to improve. Just because a few wins have been posted, he doesn’t see any reason to change the system.
"We certainly like the two wins, but that doesn’t mean that we want to stop now," said Collins. "For all of the things we have done right, there are still a lot of things that we have to fix and that we can’t afford to not improve on. There are a lot of good opponents coming up."
The Jackets will practice through the next two weeks before hosting Telfair County (1-1) on Sept. 21.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.