SEB 0 0 0 0 — 0
SEHS 10 7 0 7 — 24
SEHS_Tyler Pullum 26 run (James Hodges kick)
SEHS_Hodges 36 field goal
SEHS_Cory Horne 2 run (Hodges kick)
SEHS_Horne 2 run (Hodges kick)
First downs 9 9
Total Yards 172 245
Rushes-yards 46-151 33-142
Passing 21 103
Comp-Att-Int 1-9-2 5-14-0
Turnovers 2 1
Penalties-Yards 4-35 12-104
Rushing_SEB-Michael Davis 17-63, Chase Walker 17-63, Jaylon Wells 7-7, Cecil McCollum 1-4, Rodney Brazell 3-6; SEHS-Elvin Brown 14-45, Tyler Pullum 4-45, Patrick Brown 5-41, Nick Reno 6-20, Cory Horne 3-2, Team 2-(-4).
Passing_SEB-Wells 1-7-1, 21; Caleb Carter 0-2-1, 0; SEHS-Pullum 5-14, 103.
Receiving_SEB- Walker 1-21; SEHS-Jake Elliott 3-55, Marcus Boyd 2-48.
GUYTON — As difficult as third down proved to be for the Southeast Bulloch offense Friday night, fourth down was an even stiffer task.
The Yellow Jackets were 2-of-13 on third-down conversions — and just 1-of-6 on fourth-down tries — in a 24-0 loss to South Effingham in a non-region football game.
“We just couldn’t get anything going on offense,” said Yellow Jackets coach Pat Collins.
The Mustangs held the Yellow Jackets to 172 total yards and only nine first downs in notching their first shutout victory in five years.
“One thing we’ve been preaching to our kids all along is we’ve got to find a way to get off the field on third and fourth downs,” said Mustangs coach Donnie Revell after his team evened its mark at 1-1. “Our kids on defense especially played really hard. We played really well. We got some big plays at the right time. We had some kids make a play that we didn’t have last week, and that put them in some long situations.”
South’s biggest play early in the game came on its first possession, as quarterback Tyler Pullum stepped through a tackle at the SEB 15-yard line and scored on a 26-yard keeper. James Hodges’ point after put the Mustangs up 7-0 with 5:40 to go in the first quarter.
Patrick Brown’s 28-yard dash led to the Mustangs’ second score, Hodges’ 36-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead in the closing seconds of the first period.
The Mustangs offense made it 3-for-3 on scoring drives on the ensuing series. After a bad snap on a punt led to advantageous field position, Pullum connected with Marcus Boyd down the middle for 33 yards. Cory Horne barged in from 2 yards out on the next play, and Hodges’ extra point stretched the margin to 17-0 with 11:12 remaining in the first half.
Down by three scores early, the Yellow Jackets were forced to continue to go for it on fourth down. They ate 7:40 off the clock and pounded their way to the Mustangs 9-yard line, with Chase Walker’s 2-yard gain on fourth down keeping the possession going. But on fourth-and-2, Horne, the Mustangs senior middle linebacker, smacked Michael Davis for a 1-yard gain, thwarting any SEB momentum.
“The linebackers did a great job for South Effingham tonight,” Collins said. “We’ve got to keep everything close, and we let it get away from us early on. But it’s a lot of credit to them. They defended us.”
The Yellow Jackets (0-2) recovered Elvin Brown’s fumble at the SEHS 21 just three plays later. But under pressure, Jaylon Wells’ fourth-down pass was well off the mark. Wells had to come out of the game for one play after his helmet popped off as two Mustangs sandwiched him for a sack on the first play of the drive.
While SEB’s defense held the Mustangs to two first downs over the first 17 minutes of the second half, the SEHS defenders likewise stiffened. The Yellow Jackets’ first two possessions ended with a turnover on downs and Luke McCann’s third interception of the season.
South Effingham’s last score came on a drive aided by a roughing the punter call. Jake Elliott hauled in Pullum’s pass on a fade pattern, staying just inbounds for a 31-yard gain, and Horne rammed his way in on the next play from 2 yards out. Hodges’ PAT gave South Effingham a 24-0 lead with 2:52 to go in the game.
The Yellow Jackets got to the Mustangs 29 on their final possession, their best penetration of the second half, before Isaiah Hudson snared Caleb Carter’s fourth-down pass with 1.2 seconds left to end any SEB hopes of scoring.
“You have to take your hat off to them,” Revell said of the Yellow Jackets. “They came out in the second half and didn’t quit. They played hard all the way through to the very end. That’s a tribute to their coaches and their players.”
South Effingham visits in-county rival Effingham County for its Region 3-AAAAA opener next week, and SEB travels to Bryan County.