Savannah (1-4, 1-1) at SE Bulloch (3-0-1, 1-0)
7:30 p.m., Today
Fred Shaver Field
BROOKLET — The last time Southeast Bulloch was undefeated through four games, the entire roster of the current Yellow Jackets had yet to be born.
It’s been 20 years since SEB has had this kind of start and no one plans let up anytime soon as the Jackets host Savannah High tonight at Fred Shaver Field.
While the Jackets (3-0-1, 1-0 Region 1-AAA) are in uncharted waters, an even keel is the norm on both the practice field and under the lights on Friday nights. This season’s key contributors were the same players taking their lumps over the last few years and all are happy to be turning the tables as the team continues to improve.
“I think that we all expect to win,” SEB coach Pat Collins said. “That wasn’t any different the last few years. Now that we’ve gotten off to a good start, I think it helps for all of our guys to see the results and continue to buy in to what we try to do here.”
One of the main goals for this year’s Jacket squad was to find its way back to the playoffs after a decade-long absence. SEB can take the next step toward attaining that goal tonight as it faces a pivotal region matchup against the Blue Jackets (1-4, 1-1).
Savannah hasn’t had the same success as Southeast Bulloch so far, but both schools have already notched one region win and figure to be in the hunt for one of the region’s four state playoff slots until the final weeks of the season.
“We respect all of our opponents and Savannah is no exception,” Collins said. “They’ve had a very tough schedule that has led to their record. We know that we need our best effort to come away with a win.”
Last season, Savannah outgained the Yellow Jackets by a 321-128 margin, but SEB was the beneficiary of three timely turnovers in a 17-6 win.
The SEB defense has been stronger this season, but the real difference makers in 2013 are running amok out of the offensive backfield.
Tyler Epps is second among all area rushers with his 670 yards so far this season. Antonio McMillan missed SEB’s firs two games with a knee injury, but has racked up 378 yards over the last two weeks and is getting stronger with each game.
Last week, the senior duo was unstoppable as both recorded over 200 yards in a win over Johnson of Savannah.
“It’s a luxury to have two guys with so much talent and experience,” Collins said. “They can do a lot with the ball in their hands. At the same time, our line is coming together. We’re getting the consistency we’re looking for.”
If the Yellow Jackets’ offense continues to roll tonight, SEB could be looking at a 2-0 region record for the first time since 2001. That would set up a huge showdown next week against seventh-ranked and defending region champion Pierce County.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.