BROOKLET – Four Metter turnovers and a missed extra point were the difference as the Tigers extended their losing streak to 22 and the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets (2-7, 1-5 Region 3-AA) got their first region win of 2007 as SEB knocked off the visitors 14-13 on senior night at Fred Saver Field Friday.
A Blake Williams pass to Brandon Burke with 6:10 remaining in the game brought Metter within one, but the extra point attempt sailed wide left and the Jackets held on for the victory.
Williams finished the game completing 18 of his 35 passes for 305 yards and two TD’s, but a tenacious SEB defense recovered four turnovers and stopped the Tigers four times on fourth down to slow the MHS offensive attack.
“You can give all the credit in this win to the defense,” said SEB coach John Kenny. “They did a tremendous job for us getting the turnovers, and they gave us good field position. You’ve got to give the defensive coaches and players a ton of credit.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Tigers got on the board first after forcing an SEB punt. The drive was highlighted by a 33-yard run by Geoffrey Thurman and was capped off with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Williams to receiver Jonathan Cobb.
The momentum shifted in Southeast Bulloch’s direction when – after the third Jacket three-and-out – Thurman could not handle the Yellow Jacket punt and Michael Smith jumped on it putting the ball back into SEB’s hands.
The Jackets were not able to capitalize on the turnover when an incomplete, fourth-down pass from Joe Wilson gave the ball back to the Tigers, but momentum swung back toward Southeast when Metter went for it on fourth-and-one from their own 44 and the Jacket defensive line stuffed Williams on the quarterback sneak.
Tharon Davis took a handoff on the next play from scrimmage and ran untouched 44 yards to cut the Metter lead to 7-6. The two-point conversion failed, but SEB got a second chance when it was flagged for a false start and kicked the tying extra point from the 7-yard line.
“(The Davis run) put us back in the game right before the half,” said Kenny. “It was a big play. The most important thing about that was the fourth down stop by our defense. The defense gave us a little momentum, and the offense fed off of it. Whenever a kid goes un-touched like that, you’ve got to give the credit to the offensive line.”
Metter responded by driving down to the SEB 4-yard line but the Jacket D held strong again. A 21-yard Metter field goal attempt sailed through the uprights, but a false start moved them five yards back. They went for it on the second try, and a Williams pass was batted down and the score remained tied at seven heading into halftime.
Metter looked poised to take the lead once again after forcing an SEB punt to start the third quarter. It took just three plays to go 61 yards down to 34-yard line, but on the very next play, junior Matt Conner stepped in front of a Williams pass and picked it off, returning it all the way back to the MHS 29-yard line.
The Jackets took the lead on a 9-yard pass from Wilson to Leroy Evans, and the extra point put SEB up 14-7.
Senior Tony Raymond, who was sick during the week and questionable for the game, intercepted a Williams pass, but another SEB punt set up Metter’s final score. After Burke hauled in the 27-yard touchdown pass from Williams, the extra point sailed wide left, and the Tigers trailed 14-13.
Trailing by one, Metter got one more chance when SEB punted with 15.4 seconds to go, but the second Conner interception of the evening sealed the win for the Jackets.
“It’s a big region win at home on senior night,” Kenny said. “It’s a big win for our kids, and we’ll go back to work. Like I said from day one, we’ll keep doing what we do and keep playing these young kids – getting them some reps and trying to get better.”