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Yellow Jackets host Islands for homecoming

    BROOKLET — Southeast Bulloch has passed the first test, but there is still plenty more work to be done.
    Last weekend, the Yellow Jackets (4-4, 4-0 Region 1-AAA) opted to go for a two-point conversion in the waning minutes of their game against Jenkins. SEB’s gamble paid off and their reward is a sub-region title.
    The Jackets will play the No. 4 seed from the opposite sub-region next week, but first has a date with Islands (1-7, 0-4) tonight at Fred Shaver Field.
    The Sharks are in their first season of varsity competition and it has shown. Islands managed a win over fellow first-year varsity program New Hampstead, but has been mostly bullied by its sub-region rivals.
    Conversely, the Jackets have been red-hot after dropping their first four games of the season. As the new offensive line and skill position players have gained experience, the Yellow Jacket attack has started to gain steam and put up points.
    Still, the Jackets are taking nothing for granted.
    “Islands has had its struggles,” SEB coach Pat Collins. “But make no mistake. We know that they’d love nothing more than to come in here and hand us a loss. We don’t expect them to lay down just because we’ve been winning and they’ve been losing.”
    Even if the Sharks bring their A-game, it might be hard to find scoring opportunities.
    Over the last two weeks, the Jackets’ running attack has been almost perfect in its execution, consistently moving the chains and putting points on the board. During that span, SEB has run nearly three times as many offensive plays as its opponents.
    When Islands does have possession, SEB defenders will have plenty of reads to make.
    The Sharks run an option attack out of the shotgun spread, the flexbone, and seemingly every other formation from which a team can get its quarterback and multiple running backs involved.
    “We definitely have our work cut out,” Collins said. “Islands is going to show us a lot of looks and we need to know our assignments for all of them.”
    For the Islands defense, one assignment looms above all others — or maybe it looms below.
    Standing just 5-foot-7, freshman running back Chase Walker looks unassuming in the SEB backfield. Once he gets the ball, it’s an entirely different story.
    Walker has been a huge part of SEB’s run through the sub-region. He has already surpassed 1,000 yards on the season and leads all Jackets with 12 touchdowns. Many younger Jackets might get a chance to play if Collins decides to rest some of his starters ahead of next week’s do-or-die game, but Walker will likely be tasked with getting SEB out in front early.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.