By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
SEB, Portal moving on in flag football state playoffs
Flag football
Southeast Bulloch quarterback Ansleigh Little fires a pass downfield in the first half of the Yellow Jackets flag football state playoff game against the Jenkins Warriors Tuesday evening in Brooklet. - photo by JOSH AUBREY

With two rounds of the GHSA state flag football playoffs now in the books two Bulloch County teams have advanced to the state Class-1 Elite-8. The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets and Portal Panthers have both moved on to the quarterfinals while the Statesboro Blue Devils' season came to a close after they put up a good fight before falling to last year’s state champs Calvary Day 18-6. 

For the No. 2 ranked Yellow Jackets Tuesday night was a home matchup at Fred Shaver Field as the Jackets breezed past Jenkins in their opening round game 44-0 and then beat Northside Columbus 20-0 in their second-round game just over an hour later.

"We worked really hard on defense and I felt like we were fast and quick and played well in both games," said Jacket head coach Marci Cochran. "Being our first year in the sport we weren't sure what the playoffs would be like but it was so exciting and we appreciate everyone coming out to support us."

Game two saw Southeast going up against the second seeded Northside Columbus Patriots who advanced after beating South Atlanta 52-0.

The Jackets moved the ball down field on their opening drive with a mixture of double passes and laterals, converting on a pair of fourth down plays before Ansleigh Little took the ball in from eight-yards away for a 6-0 lead.

The defense was able to force a Patriot punt, and the offense moved the ball on a 70-yard drive sparked by a 35-yard pass from Littles to Addie Hood down the sidelines. With just under three minutes before the half Littles rolled left and found Odom in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown. Korine Talkington then ran the 1-point conversion in to give the Jackets a 13-0 halftime lead.

The Patriots forced the only Yellow Jacket punt of the game on the opening possession of the second half and moved the ball to midfield when the Jackets came through with the play of the game. The Patriots ran a reverse option pass with Ally Gasser looking deep, but Odom leapt over the defender and picked off the pass, returning it to the Northside 45-yard line.

“Alex made a great play on the ball," said Cochran. "I really feel like that was the biggest play of the game because it stopped any momentum they were building, and then we scored to finish it up."

The Jackets took advantage of the play as after making a long run, Littles took a pitch and connected on an 8-yard touchdown pass to Odom. Haas then hit Delanie Thames for the conversion pass to make it 20-0, which signaled the mercy rule with 1:00 left and the Jackets erupted in celebration.

“I feel like this team has come so far from when we first got them out here," said Cochran. "Our offense pulled off some pretty impressive plays tonight in both games and they are doing such a good job of reading the defense. We are excited about hosting on Thursday and we hope our fans will show up to support the team because this is big for us."

With the win Southeast Bulloch will host a quarterfinal matchup with Columbus High, which beat Richmond Hill 22-0 in the opening round and deafeated Walnut Grove 25-0 in round two. The two teams will play Thursday at 5 p.m. in Brooklet.

The Portal Panthers were able to sweep past Beach and Harris County. The Panther beat Beach 13-6 and then went on to knock off Harris County 19-0.

In the opener the Panther defense was able to put the first points of the game on the scoreboard as Kelso Williams returned an interception for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead. The Panther offense added a touchdown pass from Emma Yates to Blair Brannen for a 13-0 lead. The Bulldogs came back for a second half touchdown but the defense held getting an interception from Akela Williams to help seal the deal.

In game two the Panther offense helped set the tone going 66-yards on their opening drive and cashing in on a touchdown pass from Yates to Blair Brannen. Brannen and Yates hooked up on the second score as well and Jozie Motes scored off a Yates pass, with a conversion pass to Serenity Williams capping the scoring.

“I felt like in the first game we missed out on some scoring opportunities but played pretty well on defense,” said coach Jay Reddick. “The whole defensive unit played lights out holding Harris to a shutout. Rusher Mellinee West had some huge sacks in the game and Glendia Lowe also had a big interception.”

“On offense I felt Emma Yates had a great night with five touchdown passes,” said Reddick. “We have had some trouble catching the ball but did a lot better job in the two games.”

Up next the Panthers will travel to Savannah Thursday as they take on the No. 1 seed out of Area 2 in St. Vincents. The Saints advanced to the quarterfinals after beating Kendrick 19-14 and squeaking past Mary Persons 13-12.