Beach (0-7, 0-4) at SE Bulloch (5-1-1, 2-1)
7:30 p.m., Today
Fred Shaver Field
BROOKLET — When Pat Collins came took over the Southeast Bulloch football program in the spring of 2010, he had a list of goals.
First up for a team that was then mired in a 19-game losing streak was to simply win a game. The next up was to get a region win.
Both of those have been checked off for a long time. The next goal — make the state playoffs — is on the brink of being realized.
A win for the Yellow Jackets (5-1-1, 3-1 Region 1-AAA) tonight against Beach (0-7, 0-4) will put another checkmark on the SEB to-do list.
“I try not to pay too much attention to postseason scenarios, but I think everyone has heard something about what a win would mean,” Collins said. “Of course, our main concern is with Beach. They’ve had their struggles, but they beat us here last year. But if we can get a win and can make the playoffs, that would be such a great thing for this school and these guys who have put in so much effort to get this program turned around.”
It was a loss to the Bulldogs last season that snuffed out SEB’s playoff hopes. This time around, the Jackets still have plenty to play for and seem to have the upper hand heading into the game.
Beach’s defense has been one of the leakiest around this season. The lowlight came in a 91-6 loss to Camden County last month, but things haven’t improved much as — even excluding the Camden blowout — Beach is allowing an average of 37.7 points per game.
That should be music to the Jackets’ ears. As the SEB offense has hit its stride, the points have started to pile up. Last week, Tyler Epps (1190 rushing yards, 15 TD) ripped off four touchdowns in the second quarter alone.
The Jacket attack isn’t a flashy one, but if Beach can’t figure things out, it could be on the wrong end of another big number.
“The biggest thing for us is to start off strong,” Collins said. “Last year, we got a 70-yard run on our first drive, but it ended with us fumbling. We never quite recovered from that. That’s the sort of thing we need to avoid.”
While the offense looks to avoid turnovers, the SEB defense is hoping for a repeat performance from last week. The Jackets registered five takeaways and will be hungry for more as they line up against a Bulldog attack that has yet to score more than 14 points in a game.
Tonight’s game certainly seems to favor Southeast Bulloch in just about every aspect of the game. The Jackets won’t take Beach lightly and — even with a win and a postseason berth — aren’t looking to get too wrapped up on one night.
“The purpose of setting goals is to achieve them,” Collins said. “But when you achieve one, you don’t stay put. You write down another goal and set out to achieve that. Hopefully, we can achieve a goal against Beach. If so, we feel good about ourselves, but then we move on to the next one.”
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.