BROOKLET — At the beginning of the season, the Southeast Bulloch players set goals for the season. Among them was not simply making it to the state playoffs, but winning at least one game.
The Yellow Jackets will have their opportunity to reach that goal tonight as they face the Wildcats of Westminster High School out of Atlanta.
The game plan for the Yellow Jackets (7-3, the second seed from Region 1 AAA) is the same as it has been all season. They’ll continue to rely on a ground game that controls the ball and the clock.
Sophomore fullback Chase Walker leads the SEB attack with more than 1,300 yards and 25 touchdowns on the year. Walker has averaged more than 25 carries a game, far and away the most on the team.
Running back Michael Davis and quarterback Jaylon Wells combined to average 12 carries and 85 yards a game between them to add an outside threat to the Yellow Jackets’ power running game.
Defensively for the Wildcats (6-4, the third seed from Region 4 AAA) , they are led by Cage Reeder, a 6’3 nose tackle weighing 285 pounds.
“We’ve got to know here he is but he’s a big guy and we’ll be able to find him,” said Pat Collins, SEB head coach. “We’re going to try to do what we’ve always done.”
And while SEB has only attempted 50 passes on the season, they’ve been successful when they do throw, averaging 22 yards per completion and with six touchdown passes between Wells and Caleb Carter.
Offensively, Westminster quarterback Rankin Woley is the “heart and soul” of an offense that will come out in both an I-formation and shotgun formations.
In addition to Woley, running back Zay Malcome is a key cog in the Wildcats’ attack. Malcome has rushed for more than 3,200 yards in his career and holds the Westminster career rushing record.
But the player who worries Collins most of all is Blake Gillikin, the punter and place kicker for Westminster. He’s committed to play at Penn State next year and is a huge weapon when it comes to field position.
Collins said the “X factor” in the game is as many as six or seven players for Westminster play on both offense and defense. Collins said the style they play has the potential to wear down those Wildcat players who are on the field for most of the night as the game progresses.
He also cited the Yellow Jackets’ home field advantage. Not only the comfort level of keeping the routine they’ve had for most of the season, but that Westminster has a four-hour bus ride to get from Atlanta to Brooklet.
The Wildcats come in to tonight’s game winning five of their last six games, with their only loss coming during that time to second-ranked Blessed Trinity.
“We’re excited for this game,” Collins said.
Tickets for tonight’s game at Fred Shaver Field are $8 and can be purchased at the school during normal school hours. Gates will open at 5:30 and only GHSA passes will be accepted.
The game will also be streamed live on statesboroherald.com beginning at 7:20 p.m.