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SEB pulverizes Panthers
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Tharon Davis (22) of Southeast Bulloch shrugs off a tackle by Portal defender Nick Boggs for extra yardage during the second quarter of Friday’s 34-7 victory. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    PORTAL — Coach John Kenny got his first win at Southeast Bulloch as the Jackets (1-1) visited Portal (0-2) and topped the Panthers 34-7 Friday night at Panther Field.
    For SEB, the story of the game was junior Yellow Jacket running back Tharon Davis, who slashed the PHS defense for 173 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone. He would finish the game with 19 carries and 197 yards on the ground.
    Davis credited his offensive line with his performance.
    “Tharon is in a new offense and he’s never played tailback, but he’s learning every day,” said Kenny. “(He) came up to me (after the game) and said, ‘Coach, the o-line’s blocking extremely well. The receivers are doing a great job as well.’ He understands that he’s just one of the 11.”
    Southeast Bulloch quarterback Joe Wilson — who got off to a shaky start in the season opener against Toombs County — seemed more composed in the pocket as he completed four of his five passes for 45 yards. Arsenio Wright caught two balls in the first quarter for 26 yards.
    Portal got the ball to start the game, and the ensuing drive turned out to be a sign of things to come for the Panthers.
    Portal quarterback Steven Cox, who was brought in to run the triple-option, came out throwing on the first play of the game and connected with Octavious Rawls for a quick 24-yard gain. After the completion, the Panthers switched to their bread-and-butter and started running the ball, eating away at the Jacket defense. They worked their way down to the SEB 11 yard line before throwing the first of three interceptions of the contest.
    Each time the Panthers — who finished the game with 188 yards on the ground — seemed to get things going, it seemed like another turnover was not too far off. Portal turned the ball over five times in total, three through the air.
    “You can’t say enough about our defensive coaches,” said Kenny. “What a great game plan they had. Then you go to those players executing it. … Having a short field makes a big difference to our offense.”
    Greg Wright had two interceptions in the game and Kyle Greathouse added an interception and a fumble.
    The cross-county rivalry game was well attended by both sides, and Kenny hopes that the success will continue to excite the fans from Brooklet.
    “What a tremendous job by our fans tonight, said the SEB coach. “A great fan base and a lot of noise — they were really excited. It was great to see our fans travel and follow us. It was a big boost.”
    Southeast Bulloch looks to build on Friday’s win when it takes on Vidalia in Brooklet on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Portal will host a tough Screven County team. Screven will be the third straight higher-classification game for the Class A Panthers in a row, and there will be one more after the SCHS game before Portal begins region play on Oct. 5 on the road at Savannah Country Day.  
    
    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9404.