BROOKLET — Sooner or later, the Screven County Gamecocks were going to win a game. Unfortunately for Southeast Bulloch, “sooner” turned out to be Friday night.
Screven County rolled up 325 yards of offense, all of it on the ground, as the Gamecocks paralyzed SEB 31-0. It was a brutal example of smashmouth football and the Yellow Jackets’ second loss in a row.
“I think we learned last week that once we get physical with folks, we can win,” said Screven County coach Greg Mainor. “Tonight we came out ready to play physical football.”
The Gamecocks played a tough brand of football, but they played fast, too. The one-two punch of Jeremy Johnson and Rodderick Grace were an inside-outside combination the Yellow Jackets struggled to contain all night.
Johnson, who looks more like an offensive lineman than a running back, plowed over and through the SEB defense with 20 carries for 119 yards. Grace stayed more on the edges, racking up three runs of over 20 yards on the way to 113 yards of rushing on just eight carries. He scored from 20 and 30 yards out.
When the Gamecocks weren’t bruising their way down the field with their running game, they were meeting everything SEB threw at them with a stonewall defense. The Yellow Jackets had only one run of over 10 yards. Even the reliable running of bruiser David Johnson was met with equally strenuous resistance. Johnson managed just 51 yards on 18 carries.
DeArius Odom added 50 yards and seemed just about to find a seam in the defense on several plays, but Screven County slammed the door shut on those plays before Odom could take off.
It was a big win for a team close to questioning itself.
“At first it was just a question of whether we could win one,” Manior said. “We had three tough games against tough teams.”
Last week, though, Manior said his team seemed close to breaking through in a tight loss.
“We started to build a little momentum there,” he said.
Screven was meticulous in the game, scoring early in the first quarter when Grace broke off a 20-yard touchdown run. The Gamecocks would add a second touchdown in the second quarter on Johnson’s six-yard scoring run.
In the third quarter, Screven kicker Jessica Markovcic proved why the Gamecocks were using a kicker with a ponytail, booting a 27-yard field goal that would have cleared the uprights from much farther back. Her kick made it 17-0.
By the time Screven added a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, including one that capitalized on SEB’s only turnover of the night, the game was academic. With both teams running the ball almost exclusively, the clock wound down quickly.
Southeast Bulloch falls to 2-2 and 0-2 in region play while Screven improves to 1-3 and 1-1 in region competition.
Manior may have gotten the lopsided win, but he still praised SEB’s effort.
“My hat’s off to coach [Pat] Collins,” he said. “They played hard, and he’s doing a good job. They’re building.”