BROOKLET — Times may be tough for the Southeast Bulloch football team, but there’s nothing like homecoming week to put an extra spark into things.
Tonight, the Yellow Jackets (1-5, 0-4 Region 3-AA) take on Dodge County (2-3, 1-2) in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Fred Shaver Field in front of the homecoming crowd.
SEB has dropped 33 straight region games since its win over Dodge County in the opening game of the 2008 season, but the Jackets have become a much more competitive team over the last two seasons and seem destined to break the unfortunate streak sooner rather than later.
Now, with Fred Shaver Field hosting its final homecoming game before the Jackets open their new stadium next season, the setting is perfect to get that big win.
“This is a fun time for the school and the community,” said SEB coach Pat Collins. “There are a lot of activities going on, but we’ve reminded our players that our part of homecoming is what we can do on the field.”
For much of the year, the Jackets have struggled on offense — getting shutout four times in the season’s first five weeks. Swainsboro proved to be too much for SEB last week, but the Jacket offense did take some strides forward that Collins hopes can carry forward into tonight’s game.
“We took some steps forward on offense,” said Collins. “One of our scoring drives was a great example of that. Our special teams forced a turnover and gave us a short field, then we put together a good drive to put up a touchdown.”
Capping off the scoring drive was a touchdown pass from senior quarterback Taylor Burroughs — a toss that Collins later realized was a bigger deal than he thought.
“It turned out that it was his first touchdown pass,” said Collins. “He certainly deserves it with the hard work that he puts forth. He might not be the biggest or fastest quarterback I’ve ever coached, but he’s right at the top in terms of leadership.”
Burroughs and the rest of the Jackets have another tough test tonight in moving the ball against the Indians.
Now halfway through its first year with Rex Hodges at the helm, Dodge is in the middle of a quick turnaround. The Indians won just three games last season, but is now in the thick of the state playoff hunt.
Heading what has become a stingy defense, Leonard Floyd — a UGA commit — has given everyone headaches this
“Floyd is a great talent both at defensive end and at tight end,” said Collins. “He is a good example of what Dodge County is doing this season. They might be the most improved team in the region. They have started doing all of the little things right and it shows.”
That may be the story for the Indians, but with a young roster that is improving by the week, there’s no reason to think that SEB can’t do the same and turn the tables on their region rivals to really start the homecoming party.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.