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SEB on brink of consecutive titles
SEB Flag
Southeast Bulloch's Ainsleigh Littles, right, breaks up a pass intended for Northside Columbus' Chloe Hatcher during the second half on Thursday, Dec. 1. - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT/staff

The GHSA held their first state championship in 2020. The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets fielded their first team in 2021 and proceeded to go undefeated and captured the 2021 title. Thursday the Jackets look to cap off another undefeated season with a championship as they take on Harris County for the D-1 title at 11:00 in Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta. 

The Jackets had a couple of tight games with Pace Academy and Long County to start the season but then reeled off 14-straight games in which they won by at least two touchdowns. The last two weeks of the state tournament the Jackets have had to hang on in close contests as they knocked off Northside Columbus 7-0 and then came from behind to beat Loganville 14-7 Tuesday in Flowery Branch. 

“In the moment we weren’t glad they were close, but I think it is probably the best thing that could have happened for us,” said coach Marci Cochran. “Blowing people out just makes the players think everything is so easy, but having that adversity in the last two games should be something that helps us focus and some confidence that we can win a close game.” 

The Jackets only lost one starter off last season’s team and Cochran has seen the improvement over the last year. One of the big differences this time around though is Cochran feels the pressure is on Southeast Bulloch as the No. 1 team in the state to come through with a win Thursday. 

“Having won it all last year and being undefeated again I think there is a pressure we didn’t feel last year,” said Cochran. “Last year it was all about the journey and everything was new and fun. This year players feel those expectations. We do know how things go in the state championship so hopefully that will help us from not being overwhelmed.” 

Another big difference this year throughout the state in flag football is the quality of teams and the parity with the GHSA having added over 40 new teams this year. 

“There are definitely a lot more good teams this year,” said Cochran. “I feel flag football is only going to get bigger and bigger and grow in popularity. We have seen a lot of teams we kind of ran past last year get so much better and we know we will have to continue to improve is we are going to continue runs like this.” 

The opponent Thursday will be Harris County who comes into the game with a record of 14-1 with their lone loss being a 13-6 decision Oct. 15 to Northside Columbus. The Tigers average just over 18 points per game and surrender only three points per game. The Tigers are battle tested as well having beat St. Vincent 7-6 in the quarterfinals and then knocked off Pace Academy 13-6 in the semifinals. 

“We got to watch them in person Tuesday because they played right before us,” said Cochran. “On defense they have a player named Drew Renner who is extremely fast and is great at putting pressure on quarterbacks. On offense everything seems to run through Reese Wise so we are going to pay a lot of attention to wherever she is on the field.” 

The Yellow Jackets and Tigers will square off Thursday at 11:00 a.m. Thursday in Atlanta at Center Parc Stadium, better known to Atlanta Braves fans as Turner Field. The game will air live on GPTV.