Southeast Bulloch (0-0) at Pierce County (0-0)
7:30 p.m., 102.9 FM
THICKER PLAYBOOK: New quarterback Jaylon Wells brings a bigger running and passing threat to the quarterback position than his predecessor. If the Jackets can add more dimensions to their attack, they’ll be an even bigger threat than the high-scoring 2013 squad.
FEELING SPECIAL: Of all the advances that a young SEB team has made since spring, Collins seems most thrilled about the kicking game. Lapses in kick coverage and shaky field goal and PAT units gave the Jackets headaches last season. This time around, Andrew Cribbs and Evan Heidler are both showing promise and pressing each other to get on the field and add points to the scoreboard.
SCORING FROM ANYWHERE: There were times during SEB’s scrimmage against Wheeler County where it was hard for Collins to get a feel for how his offense was clicking. That wasn’t due to botched plays or missed assignments, but rather big gains and quick scoring drives. Last season saw the Jackets methodically plod downfield for points, but the 2014 edition has more big-play potential.
BROOKLET — The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets enter the 2014 season with expectations of repeating — and building on — last year’s trip to the state playoffs.
They’ll get an early test as they are thrown right into the deep end in tonight’s season opener against Pierce County in Blackshear.
The Bears swatted away the Jackets with a 48-13 win last season and —although quarterback Taylor Harris is now graduated — returns this season as a threat to win the Region 1-AAA championship. While the Bears and Jackets are still in the same region, they have been placed in different sub-regions this season and tonight’s game won’t have a bearing on postseason qualification.
Still, it never hurts to see how a team stacks up.
“Pierce County has been at the top of the region for the last four years,” SEB coach Pat Collins said. “We know that we have a challenge ahead of us. You can never be sure what that first game will be like, but we certainly expect a lot from ourselves.”
The biggest focal point for the Jackets in tonight’s contest will be the offense and how the many new faces fare against a solid Pierce defense.
Gone is the majority of the offensive line that paved the way for near-2,000-yard rusher Tyler Epps last year.
Epps is also gone, along with fellow running back Antonio McMillan and two-year starting quarterback Cole Carter.
Jaylon Wells has been given the task of keeping the offense on track from his spot under center.
He’ll head an offense that is getting on-the-job training, but an offense that also showed plenty of positive flashes in the preseason.
“We have a team that can possibly do some more things offensively this season,” Collins said. “We had a scrimmage against Wheeler County last week and had some success. I think it’s very beneficial for us to get some confidence heading into a tough game.”
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.