The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets squandered a couple of scoring drives in the first half, but still managed to score 35 points as they rebounded nicely from their season opening loss to Screven County with an impressive 35-7 win over the visiting Tattnall County Battle Creek Warriors.
The SEB (1-1) running game, which had struggled a week ago, came through with nearly 300 yards on the ground. Ethan Shannon led the way with 95 yards and one touchdown, while Jamari Daniel added 72 yards and one score.
“It feels good just to get back on the winning track, and get these kids some confidence,” said Southeast Bulloch coach Barrett Davis. “It’s a big win for us as we get some momentum before starting region play next week.”
The Jackets marched down field on their opening drive, and capped things off with 10:00 left in the first on a two-yard Shannon touchdown. Jonah Jones extra point was good, and Southeast Bulloch opened up a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing kick, Jones sent a pooch kick between the Tattnall lines, which hit the ground. The Warriors seemed unaware that it was a live ball, and the Jackets Tucker Czech recovered at midfield.
The Yellow Jackets got down to the Tattnall County 18 yard line, but a few penalties took them out of field goal range, and they were unable to convert on fourth and long.
The Jackets failed to score on their next drive as well, despite getting the ball inside the five-yard line. Shannon was hit hard at the line of scrimmage, and coughed up the ball which the Warriors recovered.
The Yellow Jacket defense kept Tattnall County on their side of the field for most of the first half. Late in the second quarter the offense finally capitalized on a long drive. The Jackets converted on three separate fourth down conversions including a 21-yard completion from Peyton Carr to Andre Evans on fourth and long. Capping the drive Darius Lovett went in from five-yards away with 49 seconds remaining and the Jackets took a 14-0 halftime lead.
The third quarter saw Southeast Bulloch make the most of their one drive. Shannon came through with the big play of the drive as he took off on a 36-yard run with eight minutes left in the third. Carr capped the drive with a five-yard keeper, and pushed his way ahead for the last couple yards for a 21-0 lead.
“We were able to use our bigger running backs, and wear them down and eat some clock,” Davis said. “We were also able to capitalize on some fourth down tries, which really helped us out. Our offensive line got a really good push.”
The score remained 21-0 until Tattnall finally put a drive together early in the fourth quarter. On third and 10 quarterback Aiden Willis found Deandre Lise across the middle for a 15-yard score which trimmed the lead to 21-7.
The Jackets pushed the lead back to 21 on the very next play. On the ensuing kickoff Tradon McBride showed his elusiveness, and speed as he took the ball from his own 10-yard line, and took off 90-yards for a touchdown, as the Jackets took a 28-7 lead.
“Tradon is a speedy little tenth grader,” Davis said. “He did a great job of answering their score, and getting the momentum back for us.”
The Jackets were able to add one more score after, yet another time consuming drive. Daniel took a hand-off around the far sidelines and sprinted 15-yards into the end zone for the final points of the night, and a 35-7 Yellow Jacket victory.
“We need to take care of the ball a little bit better in the red zone,” Davis said. “I am very proud of our guys though overall for coming out after only a couple days of practice, and getting the job done here tonight.”
Southeast Bulloch improves to 1-1 on the season. Up next, it's a short week of practice for the Yellow Jackets, as they open up region play Thursday night in Savannah against Islands.