First Downs 13 6
Rushes-Yards 33-211 29-86
Passing Yards 35 70
Total Yards 246 141
Comp-Att-Int 3-6-2 5-7-0
Turnovers 3 1
Penalties-Yards 6-65 11-85
Rushing: PHS: Budgett, 8-52. SEB: Epps, 14-114,TD.
Passing: PHS: Budgett, 5-7, 70 yards, TD. SEB: Carter, 3-4, 35 yards, INT.
Receiving: PHS: Wells, 4-68, TD, SEB: Epps, 1-20.
SEB 7 7 7 0 — 21
PHS 0 0 0 6 — 6
9:50 -- Epps (SEB) 1 run (kick good)
11:48 -- McCollum (SEB) 3 run (kick good)
8:32 – (SEB) McMillian 5 run (kick good)
1:23– (PHS) Wells, 15 pass from Budgett (kick failed)
PORTAL — Southeast Bulloch used a dominant running game and a stifling defense to overwhelm the Portal Panthers 21-6 in the season opener for both teams at the Portal Athletic Complex.
Tyler Epps rushed for a game-high 114 yards, including a six-yard touchdown run as the Yellow Jackets (1-0) racked up 211 yards of offense on the ground.
Early in the game Portal (0-1) had no answer for the SEB ground game as the Yellow Jackets took the opening kickoff and marched 55 yards in only five plays. Epps had runs of 14, 27 and his touchdown run on the drive to give the Jackets an early 7-0 lead.
The Panthers, who lost 15 starters off of last year’s squad, gambled by successfully converting a 4th-and-three on their own half of the field, but were unable to capitalize on the early momentum and were forced to punt.
On SEB’s second possession, the Yellow Jackets methodically moved the ball against the smaller Portal defense going 63 yards on 11 plays capped off by Corey McCollum’s 10-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.
From there, however, the Panthers’ defense were able to slow down the Yellow Jackets’ offense and were able to snuff out a fake field goal attempt late in the second quarter.
While the Portal defense was able to slow down the Jackets after their first two possessions, the Panthers’ offense struggled to move the ball. Shawn Hagins had a 35-yard run on a third and 16 called back due to a holding penalty.
Both teams were plagued with penalties as the Yellow Jackets were whistled six times for 65 yards and the Panthers flagged 11 times for 85 yards.
After forcing the Panthers into a three-and-out to start the second half, the Jackets’ offense went 32 yards on three plays that finished with Antonio McMillian’s five-yard touchdown.
Portal’s defense responded their next series when they were able to pick off an overthrown SEB pass but unfortunately for the Panthers, they weren’t able to capitalize.
The Panther’s lone touchdown came after an 86-yard drive late in the game. Backed up on their own 14, quarterback Tyler Budgett was able to break free from the SEB defense for a 36-yard run to midfield. He likely could have gained even more yardage, but lost control of the ball at midfield before Portal recovered.
The next play Budgett found Marquis Wells for a 35-yard gain to the Yellow Jacket 15. Budgett found Wells again in the next play for a 15-yard touchdown pass for the Panthers’ lone score.
Southeast Bulloch will host the Montgomery County Eagles next week while Portal will travel to Tattnall County to take on the Battle Creek Warriors.