One of the most highly anticipated matchups of the Region 3-AAA schedule takes place tonight as Southeast Bulloch travels to face Jenkins in a game that could determine the region title.
“The last two years, the top two teams from our sub-region were us and Jenkins,” said SEB head coach Pat Collins. “Whoever wins this game will have the inside track to the region championship. It’s an important game because it can put is in a better position when the state playoffs roll around.”
The Warriors (3-1, 1-0) come in to the game averaging more than 30 points per game through their first four contests. Quaterback Javante Middleton, a three-year starter, leads a spread offensive attack for Jenkins, averaging 113 yards passing and adding another 45 on the ground.
Leading the rushing attack for Jenkins is senior Joe Burke who has more than 405 yards and five touchdowns on the year. But Burke is just one of several ball carriers who combine to average more than 200 yards on the ground for the Warriors.
“Our greatest challenge, and it’s the same with any spread team, is they try to isolate you more in space. That’s kind of principle behind the system,” Collins said. “They’ve got good playmakers and we have to do a good job of tackling. When they get guys one-on-one in space, we have to make the tackles.”
Southeast Bulloch (1-2, 1-0), meanwhile, comes in to tonight’s game off their first win of the season, a convincing 42-8 win over Islands.
Chase Walker and Jontrell Wells are expected to lead the rushing attack for the Yellow Jackets. The duo have combined for 530 yards and five touchdowns in three games so far.
Perhaps the biggest change to the SEB offense this year has been the emergence of the passing game. Senior signal caller Caleb Carter averaged 80 yards per game over three games while completing 50 percent of his attempts, including completions to five different receivers last week.
Jenkins’ size is an area of concern for Collins, especially on defense. “They’ve got two inside linebackers who are bigger than they’ve had in in the past that we’ll have to contend with, but we’re just going to do what we do,” he said.
Despite the lopsided win last week, the Yellow Jackets still have areas of concern that the team has tried to address this week in practice.
“Hopefully we can continue to grow and mature as a team,” Collins said. “It’s a long season and we’re nearing the halfway point of regular season, but I like the trajectory of our team.”
The Yellow Jackets have defeated Jenkins in each of their two meetings, a 28-14 win last season and escaping with a 22-21 win in 2014.
“It should be hard-fought, hard-nosed football game,” Collins said. “They’re extremely physical and so are we.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 at the new stadium in Pooler.