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SHS sweeps past SEB in soccer doubleheader
022718 SEB SHS SOCCER 02
Statesboro High's Will Mackiewicz, front, keeps driving past Southeast Bulloch defenders Jackson Hawkins, right, Noah Smith, bottom, and Jacob Sandhagen during the second half Tuesday night in Brooklet.

    Statesboro and Southeast Bulloch renewed their intercounty rivalry on the soccer field Tuesday night in Brooklet. Statesboro dominated the ball most of the match, and despite a late goal to avoid a shutout, Southeast Bulloch fell by a final count of 5-1.

“We controlled the game, and our guys did a good job playing aggressive, the way we like them to play,” said Statesboro coach David Ball. “Putting five goals against a team like Southeast Bulloch, we’re happy about that.”

Statesboro controlled the ball for the majority of the first half, but the Yellow Jacket defense did a good job keeping the blue Devils out of the net, and the game remained scoreless until the 19:41 mark when Younoussa Maiga took a pass from Kole Landing and scored from five yards out to give Statesboro a 1-0 lead.

That score held up until just over a minute before the half when Landing found Donovan Roberts in front of the goal, he tapped it in and Statesboro took a 2-0 lead into halftime.

“Statesboro has a lot of talent, but our guys played with a lot of heart,” said Southeast Bulloch coach Cole Wood. “I felt our back line played well, they beat us with a few good shots, and they outclassed us in the midfield.”

The second half started much like the first half with Statesboro controlling the ball, but Southeast preventing any goals, until about midway through the half. Payne Van Tassell played a nice through ball to John Desiderio, who fired a shot into the back of the net for a 3-0 Statesboro lead.

Desiderio scored again at the 15:44 mark, after a Caleb Dowden free kick ricochet off the crossbar and Desiderio  again found the back of the net for a 4-0 Blue Devil lead.

Southeast Bulloch finally broke into the scoring column as CJ Edwards ran down a loose ball at midfield and flew past the Blue Devil defense, going in for the goal at the 6:05 mark, to cut the lead to 4-1.

The Devils emptied their bench late and Yahir Garcia blasted a shot from 20 yards out in the final seconds for the 5-1 victory.

Statesboro girls top SEB
The Southeast Bulloch girls jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but it was all Statesboro from there as the Blue Devils controlled the ball the rest of the way on offense, and added three first half goals in winning 3-1.

The Yellow Jackets started the scoring on a goal from Gracie Thompson from about 18 yards out off an assist from Claire Flott giving Southeast Bulloch a 1-0 lead at the 35:15 mark of the first half.

The score remained 1-0 until the 17:04 mark as Isabella Gutierrez blasted a shot  from about 15 yards out into the upper left past a leaping Makayla James, tying the game at 1-1.

Gutierrez would strike again less than two minutes later, this time firing a shot from about the same spot as before, only this time placing it in the upper right of the goal to give the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead.

Southeast Bulloch coach Kristen Barnhill would receive a yellow card with 2:33 left in the half, and the referee quickly changed that to a red card, ejecting her from the game.

Statesboro added another goal before the half as Katelyn Carter was fouled in the box resulting in a penalty kick. Carter fired a shot past James and Statesboro would take a 3-1 lead into halftime.

“Southeast Bulloch came out strong, but I feel we put things together there toward the end of the first half,” said SHS coach Brian Thomas. “I feel like once we tied it up, those three goals came pretty quickly.”

The second half saw Statesboro dominate the ball and keep it on the Yellow Jacket side of the field. To the Jackets credit, their defense held up and was highlighted by some fantastic saves from James in goal.

“I felt like our intensity level was up this game,” said SEB assistant Amy Cook. “We looked a lot sharper, and I was really pleased with the way Makayla played in goal.”

The most impressive stop came as the Devils' Jordan Palmer fired a shot from about 10 yards. James leapt across her body, twisting in the air and pulled the ball down with both hands.

“We played well and had scoring opportunities in the second half, but hats off to their goalkeeper,” Thomas said.

Statesboro improves to 2-1-2 on the season while Southeast Bulloch falls to 0-2. Southeast Bulloch is at Islands for a 5 p.m. game on Thursday. At the same time, the SHS girls will kick off at Tattnall County.