Southeast Bulloch head coach Jared Zito knew the Jackets may struggle a bit in the early goings as he put together a pretty tough pre-region schedule to get them ready for the move up to Class 4-A. The Jackets opened the season with a heartbreaking last second loss to Liberty County and followed that up with a 56-14 loss to Statesboro High in the Erk Russell Classic. Zito stands by his decision for a tough schedule which continues this Friday at Effingham County.
“It may be a little painful at times but I think it is the right move,” said SEB coach Jared Zito. “Sometimes I think it may be harder on parents, fans and community members who are used to seeing some of the lopsided scores we have had the past few years in our old region. I believe in the way we are growing as a school and a program we are going to have to continue to challenge ourselves.”
The Jackets had a bye following their loss to Statesboro. Over the past two weeks they have worked on a few things Zito feels they struggled with in their first two games.
“On defense we have really worked on being sound in our leverage,” said Zito. “We lost leverage and contain several times against Statesboro and Liberty too. We really worked a lot on tackling and wrapping up. Offensively we have just been missing one block here or there which has prevented us from making big plays. We spent a lot of time the last two weeks correcting mistakes and getting things cleaned up overall.”
This week the Jackets take another step up in competition from 5A Statesboro to 6-A Effingham County. The Rebels come in 1-2 on the season but have a little momentum after beating Statesboro this past Friday night in a 32-10 win over at Womack Field.
“We know they are a very good football team,” said Zito. “Defensively they are aggressive and like to play their safeties down in the box. They really get after you and are good tacklers.”
The Rebels outgained the Blue Devils 360-174 in total offense a week ago including passing for 259 yards led by receiver Keion Wallace who had 153 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns.
“On offense they present a lot of issues,” said Zito. Nate Hayes at quarterback can run and throw the ball good. Ashley Thompson and Keion Wallace are both dynamic playmakers. It goes back to fundamentals for us if we are going to succeed. Our effort has been there now we just have to take a step forward with our execution. I think one of the keys to the game Friday will be our offense sustaining drives and keeping their offense off the field.
Effingham County and Southeast Bulloch are set for a 7:30 kickoff Friday night in Springfield.