The Southeast Bulloch flag football team begins defense of their 2021 title Tuesday night at Fred Shaver Field as they host the opening round of the D-1 state playoffs. The Jackets open things up at 5:00 against Spencer followed by the No. 2 vs. No. 3 matchup of Lowndes and New Hampstead. The two winners will meet at 7:15 with a chance to advance to the Elite-8.
The Jackets have not played in over a week as their last game was Nov. 17 when they beat Dodge County 13-0. Coach Cochran would have preferred to play last week but understands the GHSA deciding to take off a week for Thanksgiving.
“I think having that extra week off was really kind of a bad thing for us because we were really rolling,” said Cochran. “We were hitting our groove and were getting used to playing twice a week. We did practice Monday and Tuesday and then came back and practiced Monday this week. We weren’t too focused to start practice but when we got into game situations, I did like the way our focus and intensity got a lot better.”
Southeast Bulloch has been impressive on both sides of the ball this year. On offense they are scoring an average of over 27 points per game. On defense the Jackets have only allowed one touchdown in their last 10 games and are allowing less than three points per game.
“Our offense really seems to be flowing right now,” said Cochran. “We changed up a couple things and that seems to have really made a difference. We are finding the open receiver a lot better recently than we did at the beginning of the year. On defense I have really liked the way we have been shutting down offenses. We lost Alana Barnard and I was worried how we would fill her shoes but we have had a few girls really step up and Delanie Thames has really anchored things over there.”
In high school football game tape is readily available to coaches through a game sharing software called Hudl. In flag football many teams record games but coaches have to request video which is something Yellow Jacket opponents have been unwilling to do.
“It has been frustrating because we are always willing to give out video of our games, but many other teams aren’t as generous,” said Cochran. “We know for a fact a lot of these teams have the video and record all their games but at this point there is no way to get it other than to ask and if they say no, you just have to worry about yourselves and not as much what the other team is doing.”
Cochran doesn’t know much about Spencer or Lowndes aside from the fact that Lowndes is a Class 7-A school. The Jackets did play New Hampstead last year in their closest game of the year which saw SEB escape with a 14-13 victory.
“The only thing we really know about Spencer is they are 2-6,” said Cochran. “We don’t have any film of what New Hampstead looks like this year but we know they were really tough last year. They are 11-1 and their only loss was to Richmond Hill. They are averaging over 20 points a game and are only giving up about three points a game so if we meet them in the second round, we are expected a battle."