A year after capturing the state title the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets know they will be heading back to the state with an opportunity to defend the title as they knocked off Treutlen County 48-0 in the opening round of the Area-3 tournament Tuesday night in Brooklet.
The Jackets wrapped up the regular season as the No. 1 seed and went into the postseason with a perfect 13-0 record. The victory moved the Jackets to 14-0 and they are currently the No. 1 ranked team in the state in Division-1. The Jackets pulled out to a 41-0 halftime lead and played their JV for the second half.
“I was a little nervous as you never know how the mindset when you are playing a No. 4 seed like Treutlen,” said coach Marci Cochran. “We came out on fire and the team was focused. We ran the right routes were locked in on defense and when we do that good things happen.”
Southeast Bulloch started the scoring on a 12-yard run by quarterback Ansleigh Littles off a late pitch by Korine Talkington. The 1-point conversion run by Kaylee Haas gave SEB a 7-0 lead. Littles hit Delanie Thames for the second score on a 10-yard pass and the conversion by Littles made it 14-0.
The defense held, and Littles then fired another touchdown pass to Addie Hood to extend the lead to 21-0 as the conversion pass from Haas to Thames was good. Littles scored the next touchdown herself as she pitched to Talkington and then caught a short pass and went 32-yards for a touchdown. Haas scored the conversion to make it 28-0.
The defense came up with a couple interceptions and Lauren Erickson returned one to the 3-yard line to set up the next score. Haas then hit Thames for another touchdown and the conversion pass from Talkington to Alex Odom made it 35-0. Odom closed out the half with a pick-six and she ran an interception back 20-yards for a score to make it 41-0 at the half. Alex’s sister Natalia scored the final touchdown for the Jackets on a 40-yard interception for the final points of the game.
“I feel like we are peaking at the right time and getting into a flow,” said Cochran. “When our team starts rolling like they are right now it makes coaching them a lot easier.”
Next up for the Jackets they will take on Dodge County for the Area-3 title in a matchup up two of the 2021 state champions.
“Dodge County is the defending state champs in Division-1 and we are defending champs in Division-2,” said Cochran. “It should be a good battle, but we are ready for them. We are going to go over some things Wednesday to stay sharp but we are excited about the chance.”
Southeast Bulloch and Dodge County will square off Thursday at 7:00 at Fred Shaver Field. Swainsboro and Wheeler County will play Thursday at 6:00 also in Brooklet.
Elsewhere the news was not as good for the Portal Panthers who were shut out by Swainsboro 24-0. The Panthers were never able to get on track on offense and struggled to make plays defensively. The Panthers had advanced to the state championship the past two seasons and head coach Michael Holsonback was disappointed the Panthers won’t be able to make another run.
“We had hoped to win tonight and then get a chance to start a run in the state playoffs but we just didn’t have it tonight,” said Holsonback. “Our offense was a little flat and defensively they just made some big plays and we weren’t able to make the stops when we needed to. I feel like we played hard but Swainsboro just got it done better than we did tonight.”
Elsewhere the Statesboro Blue Devils season came to a close on the road as they dropped a 19-7 decision to Weeler County. The Blue Devils hung around trailing only 12-7 until late in the game when an interception was run back for a touchdown to seal the win for Wheeler County.