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Notebook: Southeast Bulloch offense falling into a rhythm

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Johnson (0-4) at Southeast Bulloch (2-0-1)
7:30 p.m., Friday
Fred Shaver Field

    BROOKLET — Don’t look now, but it’s late September and the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets are still undefeated.
    The Jackets struggled to a 0-0 tie in their season opener against Portal. Since then, it’s been all uphill.
    SEB won a game that it was expected to win at Montgomery County before heading into its early bye week. The real test came last week as the Jackets travelled to McRae to take on a Telfair County team that had knocked SEB from the ranks of the unbeaten last season. The Jackets’ response was clear — a 35-26 win in which they scored the first four touchdowns.
    There is still plenty of football to be played, but the one and two-win SEB squads of just a couple of years ago are a far cry from the team currently starring in Brooklet.

More work to do
    Like any good coach, SEB head man Pat Collins was happy for the latest win, but had plenty of observations to make.
    “We played three good quarters of football, and then some pretty sorry football,” Collins said. “We kind of had that look on our faces after a few mistakes like, ‘here we go again.’ But we were able to respond. And once we got back on track, we were able to put the game away.”
    The score may have been close, but the first three quarters weren’t.
    Staring down a Telfair County team that had capitalized on early SEB mistakes in 2012, the Jackets were the more disciplined and more physical team from the start. The Jackets powered their way up and down the field, putting the ball in the air just three times on the night.
    “The facts are that we still aren’t where we want to be,” Collins said. “That being said, hopefully we’re building up to be peaking at the right time. We need to improve. More importantly, we need to be playing our best when it matters the most.”

Offense in high gear
    The SEB offense of the last two games is a far cry from the group that struggled mightily in the opening week of the season. Tyler Epps has stepped up, totaling 450 rushing yards and five touchdowns —three of which came against Telfair.
    Quarterback Cole Carter has also provided the Jackets with a much more threatening passing attack this season.
    All of that has been necessary as Antonio McMillan was sidelined for the first two weeks of the season. McMillan returned last week and made an immediate impact, picking up 168 yards on 13 carries. Throw in the added production of Keagan Carter and the Jacket offense can now look to strike instead of trying to simply manage its way through games.

Now it counts
    The fast start has been fun, but it won’t mean a thing if SEB doesn’t keep things rolling as the Region 1-AAA schedule gets underway this week.
    First up for the Jackets is Johnson of Savannah, which took down SEB last season and grabbed the final playoff slot in the region.
    Last season, SEB was in contention for the state playoffs until a pair of late losses. With a faster start in region play this time around, the Jackets hope to be in better position in the final weeks of the season.
    “We realize that these games are about to mean more,” Collins said. “That’s not going to change who we are or what we want to do. We know the importance, but that just means that we need to continue to improve and execute moving forward.”

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.