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Savannah (1-4, 0-1) at SE Bulloch (1-4, 1-0)
Friday, 7:30 p.m., 102.9 FM
ALL ABOUT CONFIDENCE: Last season, the Yellow Jackets built their playoff run on a bruising rushing attack and punishing offensive line. New faces have struggled at times this season, but Collins remarked that last week’s win has reconfirmed the offense’s identity and boosted confidence.
A BIG CHALLENGE: Savannah High boasts tall and strong players at wide receiver and along both the offensive and defensive lines. SEB overcame a similar disadvantage in last year’s victory. While the Yellow Jackets can’t grow bigger at a moment’s notice, the same sound execution that worked last season will again be key.
FINISHING KICK: Southeast Bulloch has four games remaining before the region playoff. While teams always emphasize taking it ‘one game at a time’ the truth is that the Yellow Jackets need to aim for a handful of wins down the stretch. The more wins, the more likely for a favorable play-in matchup on the final Friday of the regular season.
BROOKLET — Now that Southeast Bulloch finally has a win under its belt, the Yellow Jackets can really get down to business.
Last week, the Jackets (1-4, 1-0 Region 1-AAA) got off the hook, jumping on Beach early and coasting to a 21-12 victory. Tonight, SEB will try to keep up the momentum as it welcomes Savannah High (1-4, 0-1) to Fred Shaver Field.
One thing has been clear all week — the Jackets’ first win hasn’t gone to their heads.
“We had better not get too comfortable,” SEB coach Pat Collins said. “We have a lot more to do. I thought that Tuesday’s practice was one of the best and most physical I’ve seen. I think we all understand that last week is over and that we need to work on this week.”
The Yellow Jackets will try to carry on with tradition tonight as they have beaten the Blue Jackets in each of their two meetings as Class AAA members. Last season, SEB controlled the game from start to finish, walking away with a 30-14 victory.
Southeast Bulloch will have the advantage of playing at home — where it hasn’t lost since the 2012 season finale — but some familiar obstacles remain in its path.
“I’ve coached against Savannah since 1990,” Collins said. “Not much has changed. They’re always bigger and they always have tremendous athletes. We need to find a way to deal with both of those things.”
The Blue Jackets are in their first season under head coach Tony Welch and have transitioned to a multiple offense that often resembles SEB’s Wing-T attack.
The new approach put up some points early in the season, but Savannah comes into tonight’s game fresh off of consecutive shutout losses.
On the other sideline, SEB will be looking to improve on last week’s offensive breakthrough.
Freshman fullback Chase Walker erupted for 176 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
“I thought it was the most consistent effort we’ve had from our offensive line so far,” Collins said. “I think the score and the production of our offense reflected that.”
The overall record might not be flashy, but SEB is right where it wants to be. With the win over Beach, the Jackets moved to 1-0 in sub-region play. After the ninth game of the season, the top four teams from each sub-region with square off in a regular season finale that will serve as a playoff to determine which four teams will represent Region 1-AAA in the state playoffs.
“We’re in the money games now,” Collins said. “We know what we need to do and we aren’t taking anything for granted.”
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-4908.