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Yellow Jackets shut down Screven in rivalry game

    SYLVANIA — Southeast Bulloch and Screven County battled back and forth throughout Monday’s game at Kelly Memorial Stadium. When the dust settled, it was SEB that was able to capitalize on its chances to earn a 2-0 victory.

    Matchups between the Lady Yellow Jackets (4-1) and Lady Gamecocks (7-2) are normally nip-and-tuck. This one was no exception despite the stakes being a bit lower.

    Although SEB and Screven have maintained their rivalry across all sports, preseason reclassification has separated the schools. Screven still plays in Region 3-AA while SEB has moved to Region 1-AAA.

    Still, it’s always nice to beat an old rival.

    “Our girls talked about it over the weekend,” SEB coach Kristen Barnhill said. “They kept stressing how they had to come out and play their best game. It’s not a region game, but it’s definitely still a game that we circle on the calendar.”

    Screven County had several good possessions during the game, but was never able to open up the SEB defense for an open shot at close range.

    The Gamecocks had their best scoring chances in the waning moments of the first half. With just over a minute to play in the first half, Jennifer Suggs unleashed a low, hard cross, but SEB goalkeeper Brittany Bailey beat a pair of charging forwards to the ball.

    With less than 10 seconds left in the half, a through ball found the feet of Dana Kemp. Kemp held off a defender and launched from point blank range, but Bailey came up with the save once again.

    “Brittany is a calming force for us,” Barnhill said. “I think that everyone trusts her back there. Keeping us ahead at halftime with those saves was huge.”

    Kaitlyn Wyatt replaced Bailey in net in the second half and was just as effective. Wyatt notched a pair of saves while Kemp couldn’t quite get her foot on two more passes into the box.

    Screven goalkeeper Whitney Gay made a pair of sprawling saves early on to keep the Gamecocks in contention, but the Jackets proved to be too much.

    The Gamecocks weren’t able to do much with a corner kick in the 24th minute and SEB pounced with its counter attack. Two long passes made their way to Stacy Elliot just inside the Screven 18-yard box. Elliot ripped a shot across Gay and into the left side of the net for a 1-0 lead.

    Nearly halfway through the second half, the Jackets picked up some insurance.

    A corner kick bounced off of several players and left SEB’s Morgan Friend with a free run at the goal. Gay just barely beat Friend to the ball, but as both fell to the ground, the ball bounced to Jessica Walker who placed it into the empty net.

    Friend made good on a second chance with 8:16 to play.

    A soft, high pass cleared Screven’s back line and Friend ran under it, settling it with one touch and easily slipping the ball past Gay to put the game well out of reach.

    Both teams now resume their region schedules. Screven travels to Laney tomorrow while SEB hosts New Hampstead on Friday.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.