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SEB ready for first season under Zito
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Many are high school football teams will actually be on the field for scrimmage games in less than a month. The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets open things up August 7 as they host Claxton in what will be first year head coach Jared Zito’s debut at Fred Shaver Field.

The Jacket players have been busy this summer with workouts and getting to know Zito and his new coaching staff, which is finally at full strength. Zito retained Yellow Jacket assistant coaches Brandon Peterson (OL and strength and conditioning), Brent Osborne (RB) and Colin Brister (WR) as well as SEB Middle School coach Donnie Carr (OLB).

In addition, Zito has brought on three other full-time coaches in Randy Lee (Locust Grove) who will be the special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach, defensive coordinator Jason Anthony (Richmond Hill), and defensive line coach Lewis Bailey who has been a head coach and assistant coach for over 40 years

“We now have seven coaches who will be in the building at Southeast Bulloch,” said Zito. In addition, we have one community coach and hope to have about four Georgia Southern students who will be volunteer coaches.”

Not having coached in Southeast Georgia Zito is unfamiliar with the teams the Jackets have on this year’s schedule. Last year coach Barrett Davis had to scramble throughout the season in order to get games as the Savannah schools in their region decided to only play teams within Chatham County which is something Zito is thankful he doesn’t have to deal with this season.

“I don’t envy all the work they had to do last year trying to fill out the schedule,” said Zito. “I feel like we have a pretty competitive schedule this year and while some of the teams in our region may not traditionally be very strong you never know year to year and especially with new coaches taking over.”

The Jackets were 6-4 last season and won the region by defeating the only other team eligible in Liberty County 21-7. This season the Jackets have the same first four team they played last season and then a six-team region schedule.

Southeast Bulloch opens with Screven County whom they beat 31-13 last year in Brooklet. Despite dropping down to Class A the Gamecocks struggled to a 4-6 record last season and missed the state playoffs. It’s rare to see the Gamecocks struggle, so the Jackets should see a much-improved team when they open the season August 20 in Sylvania.

The Jackets next two games will come at Fred Shaver field as they host Brantley County (Aug. 27) and Telfair County (Sept.3). SEB beat the Herons 28-7 in Nahunta last year but fell to Telfair 20-7 in Eastman. Brantley County only won one game last season, while the Trojans were 6-4 but failed to make the post season.

From there the Jackets will hit the road for a Sept. 9 matchups with Class 6-A Grovetown. The Warriors only won two games last season and one region game but advanced to the state as the other two region teams Heritage and Rockdale County were ineligible for postseason.

The rest of the season the Jackets will be in region play starting with a key matchup against Liberty County in Hinesville Oct. 10 which could potentially be for the region championship.

The Jackets will then be at Savannah High on Oct. 8 followed by a home matchup against Johnson on Oct. 15. The Jackets head back to Savannah Oct. 21 to take on the beach Bulldogs and the return home for games against Windsor Forest (Oct. 29) and Groves (Nov. 11).

“I understand Liberty County and Windsor Forest should be our tougher tests in the region,” said Zito. “My philosophy is to worry more about Southeast Bulloch then our opponents. We will dive into whoever our opponent is the week before we play them. I have a few coaches on staff who are a little more familiar with the teams we play but in the case of our region opponents we didn’t play any of them except Liberty County so there are a lot of unknowns.”