BROOKLET — Southeast Bulloch will play its season finale next week, but tonight will be a bittersweet game for the Yellow Jackets.
At 7:30 p.m., SEB will kick things off against East Laurens in what will be the final game at Fred Shaver Field. The field — named after the school’s first football coach — will be torn up following this season and will be replaced with a larger stadium and field house next year.
Since the field opened in 1967, Southeast Bulloch has compiled a 120-114 record at home. The state championship team’s of 1972 and 1973 both called Fred Shaver Field home, and the 21-7 victory over Duluth to clinch the Jackets’ second consecutive title is still the biggest win in the field’s long history.
Going out with a win would be great for the Jackets (1-7, 0-6), who have struggled through the last few seasons. But even though closing out their home field with a win would be great, they aren’t putting any extra pressure on themselves.
“We’ve addressed the fact that it’s the last game, but that’s about it,” said SEB coach Pat Collins. “Our players walk past the construction for the new field house every day. It’s apparent that things are changing. It would be pretty nice to get a win in the last game.”
To get that final win, SEB will have to go through another struggling team in East Laurens (1-8, 0-7) who have their bye next week and are trying to close out their season on a high note.
Similar to the Jackets, the Falcons have been down for a few years. Neither team is still in contention for a spot in the state playoffs, but there is still plenty to play for, and plenty for SEB to be wary of.
“The record doesn’t show it, but that’s a pretty good ballclub,” said Collins. “They have a lot of good talent and have come close to winning a few of their region
With the running game making up about 85 percent of East Laurens’ offense, the Jackets will need to bear down on defense and stop a streak that has seen SEB allow 20 or more points in its last seven games — six of them losses.
Aiming to get things straightened out, SEB took full advantage of its open schedule slot last week.
With two full weeks for players to prepare and get healthy, the Jackets are determined to give their seniors a final victory in front of the home crowd and to give their loyal fans one final win to savor at their beloved stadium.
“We’ve continued to work hard and have a great attitude,” said Collins. “Sooner or later, we’re going to get this thing turned around. We had last week to work on some of our fundamentals and we’ve been studying up on East Laurens this week.
“I’m going to tell all of our seniors to savor their last time playing in front of their home crowd. Hopefully, they’ll take that to heart and we can get a win to remember.”
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.