Southeast Bulloch’s boys soccer team have a tall order in front of them for the first round of the state playoffs. The Yellow Jackets will face a highly-touted Jackson High School today in a first round matchup.
Despite the challenge, the team seemed lose in an afternoon practice Thursday and that’s exactly how head coach Mark Petkewich wants it.
“Even though it’s a big game, we want to remain calm and play our best. Even though it’s the first round of the state playoffs, we want to treat it like it’s any other game,” Petkewich said. “Their nervousness increased as the days leading up to the game got closer, but now this is it. We have today and tomorrow.”
The Yellow Jackets played a tough back-half of the season, with losses to Statesboro and Vidalia and a win over Jenkins.
During practice Thursday, SEB went over crossing drills and how to finish plays. Assistant coach and strategist Dylan Campbell said
“We’re trying to work on playing it out wide to the wings and then crossing in the middle so we have more people in there,” Campbell said. “In the past couple of games we’ve really played some tough teams and I think its made us better. We have better stamina and we’re just playing better overall.”
Campbell also noted the team’s chemistry has improved. He said communication will be key against a solid Jackson team.
On the defensive side of the ball, Campbell said the Yellow Jackets plan to throw various defensive formations at the Red Devils.
“We have speed up top so we’re going to try to catch them off-guard a little bit,” Campbell said. “We’ve talked about switching it up so they don’t get used to how we play on defense. It should be a good matchup.”
The difference in the ball game could be the play of SEB’s center-mid L.A. Anderson. After the play of Anderson in the middle, coach Campbell decided to create a formation that better suits Anderson’s skill set.
“He’s the only one I play in the middle. He controls the game for us in the middle. He has the speed to get up and back,” Campbell said. “He’s definitely our game changer. He knows what to look for, where to pass and where to be.”
The Yellow Jackets will take on the Red Devils on the road today with a scheduled start time of 7 p.m.
Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.