BROOKLET — The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets couldn’t put together any offense in head Coach John Kenny’s debut and the Toombs County Bulldogs rolled to a 33-6 win over SEB.
Offensively, the Jackets had trouble getting anything together. Leading rusher Tharon Davis managed only 44 yards and quarterback Joe Wilson threw for only 33. The short drives put the Yellow Jacket defense to the test for a majority of the game.
“We’ve got to keep our defense off the field,” said first-year Southeast Bulloch coach John Kenny. “They spent way too much time on the field. We didn’t get enough first downs, and we didn’t move the football.”
The Jacket defense held Toombs to only 14 first-half points, but a few big plays put SEB behind.
Running out of the Wing-T, the Bulldogs got on the scoreboard early. Running back Demetry Hawkins took a handoff from QB Seth Stroud 49 yards to the house to give TCHS a 7-0 lead on their first drive of the contest.
The Jackets fell behind even further when, on Toombs County’s third possession, Keven Dennard busted through the d-line for a 23- yard run that would set up the second Bulldog touchdown when Dennard punched it in on second-and-goal from the SEB one yard line.
Southeast Bulloch immediately responded when running back/linebacker Davis took the kickoff following the TCHS touchdown at the four yard line, dropped it, picked it up and returned it 96 yards to cut the Bulldog lead to 14-6.
The Jacket defense held tough and SEB was able to take it to the locker room at halftime trailing by only eight, but turnovers would be the story in the second half.
After an SEB defensive, goal-line stand forced Toombs to cough up the ball on the Jacket one yard line, Wilson fumbled in the end zone and Bulldog A.J. Fletcher recovered it to put six more points on the scoreboard for the visitors.
Bulldog defensive tackle Neal Rodgers picked off a Wilson pass early in the fourth quarter to seal the victory and give SEB an opening-season loss.
“It is (Wilson’s) first year starting,” Kenny said. “He’s never been in this type offense. He did a good job running the offense. … He’s only going to get better.
“As the season progresses, our quarterbacks will get better, our o-line will get better, our receivers will get better, and our defense will get better. It’s game one in a new program, and we’re going to get better.”
Although the offense struggled, Kenny was pleased with the play of his defense. He was especially imoressed that his team did not quit, even after the game was decided.
“We fought for four quarters,” said Kenny. “I felt like that’s the first thing we’ve got to establish. No matter what the scoreboard says – up, down or tied – fight for four quarters. I thought we got that.“Our kids’ heads are up when I talk to them. They’re going to be winners, and they’re going to come back to work on Monday. If there’s anybody to blame, it’s me. Our kids fought hard, and we’re going to get better.”