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Richmond Hill runs over SEB

               BROOKLET – The 2017 season did not get off to a good start for the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets as they surrendered an 80-yard touchdown strike to the Richmond Hill Wildcats on the first play of the season.
        The Yellow Jackets (0-1) were able to rally to tie the game but ultimately fell 38-21 in the season opener for both teams.
        “The difference tonight was Richmond Hill (1-0) was a veteran team and they were able to maintain their poise and composure and they executed within the framework of what they do,” said SEB interim head coach Steve Pennington.
        Senior fullback Chase Walker answered the Wildcats’ quick strike with a long touchdown run of his own on the Yellow Jackets’ first drive, taking a handoff up the middle and racing 51-yards to tie the score at seven.
        The Wildcats scored 10 unanswered points before SEB was able to cut the deficit to three just before halftime when Tyler Thornton was able to make a diving catch in the end zone on a perfect pass from quarterback Blaize Minick.
        The third quarter, however, would be the Yellow Jackets undoing. After punting on their opening possession of the second half, the Wildcats’ Maurice Smith would score the first of his three touchdowns on the night on an eight yard run.         He’d score on Richmond Hill’s next drive as well, this time from one yard out to put the Wildcats up 31-14.
        The Yellow Jackets would cut the lead to 10 midway through the fourth quarter when, following a punt, they recovered a Richmond Hill fumble on the return at the RHHS two-yard line. One play later, Walker would find the endzone to make it 31-21.
        But the Wildcats snuffed out the comeback attempt by recovering the onsides kick and then marching 60 yards and capping it off with Smith’s final touchdown of the night.
        Kickoff was delayed approximately 40 minutes as lightning from nearby storms passed through the area, keeping both teams in the locker room and fans either in their cars or milling about outside the stadium waiting for the all clear  signal.
        “We experienced some fatigue in the second half and it was evident we wore down,” said Pennington.
        “The reason for that is we had to chase them all over the field. Their pace put pressure on our defense all night.”
        The Wildcats were able to spread the field and create space for their talented group of receivers and running backs which forced the Yellow Jackets to make open field tackles. Pennington said they will need to improve in that area as the season progresses.
        “I was really proud of how our offense played,” he said. “They really grinded it out all night and it takes courage to play the physical style of football we play.”
        “We need to make sure we control our emotions and play ‘The Jacket Way’,” he said.
        Walker led the way for the Yellow Jackets with 143 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 29 carries.
        Despite the loss, Pennington said there was a lot to take away from the game as SEB prepares for the rest of the season.
        “It’s a great opportunity to use this to evaluate all of us. We can look at us as coaches to make sure we’re putting our players in the best position to succeed and we can use it to evaluate our players, especially our younger guys, to try to find some potential to increase our depth.”
        Richmond Hill quarterback Sam James went 13-15 passing for 209 yards and two touchdowns. Smith carried the ball 19 times for 130 yards and three scores for the Wildcats.