The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets (5-4, 5-1) endured their tough, physical non-region schedule and an 0-4 start and have reeled off five straight wins. Tonight, they look to lock up home field advantage in the state playoffs with a win over the Windsor Forest Knights (7-2, 4-2) tonight at Fred Shaver Field.
There are plenty of subplots to Friday’s game: Steve Pennington going up against former Statesboro head coach Buzz Busby’s son Gregg, who is the head coach at Windsor Forest, Chase Walker’s quest to pass Herschel Walker on the all time touchdown list and move into the top 10, and the Yellow Jackets' opportunity to host a state playoff game with a win Friday.
First, go back to 1999 when Buzz Busby took over as head coach at Statesboro High and one of his first moves was to bring Pennington in as his defensive coordinator. Busby won a state title in 2001, left the program in 2004, and Pennington was promoted to head coach, where he won another state championship in 2005. Now, for the first time, he will square off against a Busby. And that is Gregg Busby, who brings a lot of his father’s philosophies with him.
“They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” Pennington said. “Gregg has been running the wishbone for several years at Windsor Forest. He has ventured out a bit and gone with more of a shotgun package, but no mistake the Busby power game is in effect. They are also running the same kind of defense coach Busby brought to Statesboro and I am running here at SEB now so we will be mirror images of each other come Friday night.”
Second, Chase chasing Herschel.
In last week’s 30-13 win over Beach Chase Walker tied the legendary Herschel Walker for 11th place all time in touchdowns scored in a career with 86. One touchdown tonight would not only pass Herschel but would also move Chase into 10th place all time. He is also on pace to get close to Herschel’s all time yardage mark as Chase currently has 5,713 and Herschel is just over 6,000 total yards rushing.
“Chase has had a stellar career here, and much of the credit goes to his hard work and work ethic,” said Pennington, “He is deceptively fast and has great balance, but I believe Chase would also be the first one to credit his offensive line for some of his success. He has had quite few talented players up front, including this year’s group that have helped pave his way.”
And finally, home field advantage. A win Friday against Windsor Forest would secure the Yellow Jackets of a No. 2 seed in the upcoming state playoffs and another home game at Fred Shaver Field.
“Our theme all year has been to grow in every way week to week,” said Pennington, “It’s never been about hosting a playoff game or winning a region title. If those things happen it will be a byproduct of our main goal to improve week to week.”
Prior to tonight's kickoff, SEB will recognize the late John Goodbee with a lifetime service award for his part in building the program. At halftime, Pennington will be recognized for winning his 200th game earlier this year.
Southeast Bulloch and Windsor Forest kick off Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Brooklet.