BROOKLET — Southeast Bulloch has hit a snag in region play and things don’t look to get any easier tonight as No. 8 Swainsboro pays a visit to Fred Shaver Field for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
The Yellow Jackets (2-3, 0-3 Region 3-AA) got the season off to a quick start with wins over Portal and Long County, but SEB dropped its first region game to Bleckley County September 10 and has continued to struggle in back-to-back shutout losses at the hands of Screven County and Laney.
For all the reversal of fortunes, the Jackets realize that getting things turned around is a long process, and that only continued hard work will build the program back up.
“As a coaching staff, we were very encouraged by how our boys have responded,” said SEB coach Pat Collins. “Tuesdays are our heavy scrimmage days, and it was one of the most spirited practices that we’ve had all season. Everyone still has a very good attitude and work ethic out on the practice field.”
This week, the Jackets will have their hands full once again as the Tigers bring an undefeated record and an explosive offense to Brooklet.
Though Swainsboro is in transition with new coach David Johnson it has hardly missed a beat.
In four games, the Tigers have piled on the points, averaging 27.3 points per game and topping 26 points in all but one contest. The defense has been just as dominating, notching a shutout and holding off a high-powered — and state ranked — Jefferson County squad last week.
One thing that may benefit the Jackets tonight is the new direction that the Tiger offense has taken.
Swainsboro was a spread team in 2009, but has switched to a Wing-T that is very similar to SEB’s own offensive scheme.
“I think that’s definitely helpful for us,” said Collins. “It’s something that we know and that our defense is comfortable with. But the issue isn’t so much with what they’re running as who they’re running it with. Swainsboro has a very good offensive line, a quarterback that can run and throw well, and some tremendous athletes to carry the ball.”
For the Jackets offense, the first priority will be getting back onto the scoreboard.
In being shut out the last two weeks, Southeast Bulloch has moved the ball, but has also had to contend with some very stout defenses. Swainsboro will likely be more of the same, but the Yellow Jackets are focusing on ways that they can improve their own effort.
“There are ways that we can help ourselves,” said Collins. “We can improve our technique and execution on plays and we can strive to give our best effort on every play. We can’t really control the schedule or who we play any given week. This is a very tough region, so we’re just looking to improve and compete every week.”
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.