BROOKLET – Khristian Clark had a homecoming to remember for sure.
The Southeast Bulloch senior quarterback ran for two touchdowns, threw for two more and, for good measure, was voted Homecoming King before the game as the Yellow Jackets crushed the Johnson Atomsmashers, 36-15 Friday night.
The win moves the Yellow Jackets to 6-1 on the year and 2-1 in Region 3-AAA.
“It’s great to be at home and it’s great to win in front of our home crowd and to do it on homecoming makes it even sweeter,” said SEB Head Coach Jared Zito.
The Yellow Jackets opened the game with a methodical 10-play drive covering 68 yards that culminated with Clark’s first rushing touchdown of the night, a three-yard carry that came three plays after SEB had an apparent touchdown called back for an ineligible man downfield penalty.
Johnson looked to answer on their opening drive, moving from their own 36 to the SEB 27. Facing a third and 9, Atomsmasher quarterback Keon Edwards overshot his receiver and found the waiting arms of senior cornerback Enosh McMillan, who returned it untouched down the sideline for an 80-yard pick six to put the Yellow Jackets up 13-0.
Zito credited his defense with stepping up tonight as Johnson came out in several formations the Yellow Jackets had not seen from them on film.
“The main thing is our kids were getting lined up where they needed to be,” he said. “They were getting their eyes in the right place and playing fact and we tackled well tonight.”
The Yellow Jackets didn’t waste any time on their next possession. After forcing a punt, SEB found themselves backed up at their own 19. On their first play of the drive, Clark saw wide receiver Tyler Giffin with one-on-one coverage alone on the right side of the field.
Griffin ran a quick slant and Clark found him with a strike. Griffin then outran the Atomsmasher defense for an 81-yard score to put SEB up 19-0 early in the second quarter.
Johnson was able to answer late in the quarter with a touchdown of their own, but SEB added a 43-yard field goal from Andrew Slone with just 11 second remaining in the half to extend the lead to 22-7.
Zito said the coach staff stressed staying focused all week even with the homecoming festivities ongoing throughout the week.
“The biggest thing is we kind of played off our loss to Liberty County and we felt like we were not focused that night,” he said. “And then last Friday we were very focused at Savannah and I just tried to encourage them to bring that same focus and, if they do, we can be a great football team.”
The SEB defense remained focused to open the second half and on the third play of the third quarter, defensive back Cory Wells picked off another Edwards pass to give the Yellow Jackets excellent starting field position at the Johnson 9-yard line.
Clark took the snap and raced to the corner of the end zone for his second rushing score of the night and Slone’s extra point made it 29-7 as the Jackets cruised from there.
Clark finished the night with 155 yards passing and another 37 rushing yards. Griffin accounted for 123 yards receiving and led the Yellow Jackets on the ground as well with 54 rushing yards.
The two teams traded forth quarter touchdowns to close out the scoring with the Yellow Jackets coming on a 32-yard pass from Clark to Griffin for their second connection of the night.
“We’re going to enjoy this one for a couple of days and then get to work to get ready for Beach.”