Who has the “juice” on the Southeast Bulloch football team? Well, as of late, everyone. At least according to SEB quarterback Jaylon Wells.
According to the players, the “juice” is symbolic of how well an individual player performs. Whoever has the juice is considered “the man,” so to speak.
The Yellow Jackets (7-3, 5-0 Region 1-AAA) have been on a roll recently, winning six of the team’s last seven games. The team’s last loss came on Sept. 18 to Dodge County.
Since then, SEB hasn’t looked back. The team is equipped with a secondary full of ball hawks, a sophomore running back with over 1,000 yards rushing on the season and a solid kicking game.
Last week the Yellow Jackets defeated Appling County 41-25 to reach the state playoffs, and with a win over Westminster, can become the first SEB team since 1973 to win a state playoff game.
“Our guys are eager and are excited. They’re at the threshold of the goal we set way back when we had our spring combine,” SEB head coach Pat Collins said. “Our players are excited, but we’re trying to stay grounded.”
Being on the cusp of breaking a state playoff losing streak comes with a lot of praise from the community and Coach Collins said he wants his players to enjoy their success leading up to the big game against the Wildcats. However, he also knows there’s a bigger task at hand.
Last year Westminster advanced to the semifinal round of the state playoffs, losing to eventual state champions Calhoun, 19-8. The Wildcats returned a lot of key players from last year’s squad.
“The things that are going on with the spirit and support of this community is what it’s all about, but the role of the football team is to stay grounded and stay focused,” Collins said. “Our job is to go out and compete and represent this community.”
The players on this Southeast Bulloch squad are certainly excited to host a home playoff game against Westminster. Winning this game would get the proverbial monkey off the team’s back and the Yellow Jackets certainly believe they have the weapons to do so.
“Man, everybody has the juice. That’s all we’ve had this past week is juice,” laughed Wells, who threw a 26-yard touchdown pass and ran for another score last week. “We seem to have it every night. Everybody does their part and everybody has the juice.”
Wells said the team carries around a ceremonial “juice jug” dedicated to the player with the best game.
Southeast Bulloch's Cecil McCollum said his focus is to accomplish the goals the team set before the season started.
McCollum stepped up for the Yellow Jackets against Appling County. He caught a 26-yard touchdown pass and later nabbed a 33-yard pass to convert a crucial third down when the team needed him.
“It feels great to know the team (trusts) me. Everyone has a job and if it’s a job for me to do I plan on doing it,” McCollum said. “We want to try to get to the dome and we’re all working hard. We know this is going to be a tough game so everyone has to do their part and make no mistakes.”
The players at SEB have enjoyed a little bit of home cooking this season. The Yellow Jackets played eight home games this season, with yet another home game scheduled this Friday.
The community and school is in full support of the team and a pep rally event will take place tomorrow at SEB near the cafeteria at 6 p.m.
“Everybody is excited and we think we can get it done. I’ve never done anything like this. The state playoffs is a big deal for the community and the team,” said sophomore running back Chase Walker, who ran for two touchdowns and 145 yards against Appling. “This generation hasn’t seen it and everyone is going to be out there. We’ve never walked through the halls and heard people talking about the football team. Now when we drive down the road we see signs saying ‘Go Jackets.’”
Tickets for the game Friday will be on at the Southeast Bulloch High School main office from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We want to invite everyone in Bulloch County to come out to what should be a very exciting night,” Collins said. “It’s exciting for our school and our community and we’re all representing Bulloch County at this point.”
Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.