High School Football

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Busy Bee

By: Colin Lacy

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

In the off-season, it was well thought that rising senior Will Nelson would be the heir apparent to take over as QB1 for the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets.

After excelling as a two-year starter at safety for the Jackets, Nelson was tasked with learning and leading a completely revamped offense for SEB that made the move back to the split-back veer.

While that would be more than enough for many 16–17-year-olds, it’s far from all Nelson was focused on.

He had just completed his junior season for Southeast Bulloch Baseball, while also being an active member of numerous clubs and activities including Beta Club, National Honors Society and Future Business Leaders of America among others.

Was that enough for Nelson? Nope!

Last spring and into the summer, Nelson applied, interviewed, and was named one of two representatives for 4A on the 2023-24 GHSA Student-Athlete Advisory Council.

The GHSA Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) is a 20-person panel made up of student-athletes from all over the state of Georgia that are selected by a group of judges after a rigorous interview process.

Two representatives from each classification along with four at-large members make up the council each year. The SAAC is tasked with creating the connection between student-athletes, the GHSA Office, officials, and everyone that has a hand in high school sports to help promote sportsmanship and leadership.

“We’re just trying to influence a positive attitude and atmosphere around high school sports,” said Nelson. “We also want to push respect referee, and associates that help us, and spend their time to help us play our game and keep us safe during the game.”

The selection process begins with a full application process and must meet the minimum requirements that the applicant must be involved in at-least one club or school organization in addition to playing at-least one sport at the school.  After the application, comes the interview process where judges from all across the state that will be making the final decision.

This year, 116 applications were sent in from all corners of the peach state to select the 20-person council with Nelson and Sanaaya Thompson from Rutland High School getting the nod for the 4A classification.

“It defiantly means a lot to me to be able to represent not only SEB, but all of 4A,” said Nelson. “It can be a lot of pressure, but it’s an honor for sure.”

The GHSA SAAC will be voting on a couple yearly awards including the Student Section of the Year, as well as participating in a leadership conference in the winter.

All the off the field accomplishments and responsibilities haven’t taken away from his performance on the field leading Southeast Bulloch to a good start midway through the year.

He is the second leading rusher for the Jackets, behind senior running back Kyon Taylor and scored the first 3 rushing touchdowns of the season.

Multiple coaches around the SEB program have called Nelson a “Gamer Winner”. The confidence he brings on and off the field is incredibly impressive and is just the type of leader you would want for your program.

There are many words that can describe or label Will Nelson. Quarterback. Leader.  Student-Athlete. SAAC member. Son. Friend.

And somehow, he finds time to juggle all of them, and do it well.  Free time? Who needs it!


Captain Of The Bucs

By: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The McIntosh County Academy Buccaneers are a trendy pick to win the Single A Division II GHSA State Title. That is in no small part due to Bucs standout, Neo West.

West starts on defense at safety and also starts at QB for Bradley Warren’s Bucs.

Neo West is a local homegrown talent, born and raised in McIntosh County…living in Townsend.

The season started with plans to move West out of the QB role and into the running back position. Coach Bradley Warren instead elected to keep West as their biggest threat on offense at QB.

Neo West is a weapon, a dual threat QB that has a high football IQ. West is just plain smarter than most he plays against. “When I play QB I try to make the smartest play possible and control the offense.”

West went on to say, “I am most comfortable in a Wing-T offense. I like sharing the ball and making big plays happen.” He has made his fair share of big plays, playing both ways since he was a freshman and was a starter at safety and QB as a sophomore.

When asked about what he has learned from his head coach, Bradley Warren, I got this profound answer; “Coach Warren has taught me a lot but one of the biggest things is that I need to be the one to step up. On the football field I need to be the one to step and make a big play when my team needs it. And in life I need to be the one step up and do what needs to be done.”

Neo West has high aspirations on the football field as his goal for this season is to make All-State at safety. Eventually Neo wants to move onto college and major in business. West hopes that college football will be part of that equation.

To this point West has received some interest from Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, and Middle Tennessee State. Most likely as the season wears on more interest will follow.

West also is only a Junior, so he has a whole other year to play for the Bucs after this season.

Neo started playing football at 7 years old. He played both RB and QB on offense and played safety on defense.

I asked Neo what drives him…”My mom is the biggest influence in my life. She has had such a huge positive impact on who I am. She always told me that just because I might be smaller than some other people playing football that none of them could match the size of my heart and to play with heart.” West’s measurables are 5’11 150 pounds. He is tough, hard nosed kid that plays bigger than he is.

Neo is also close with his sister, Judea West. “She is 22 and in college at Middle Macon. We actually call each other twins because we are so much alike. We are always there for each other.”

Neo West is a phenomenal young man that has big things ahead of him.


No ‘I’ In Team

By: Colin Lacy

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

What’s the Difference between a “Program” and a “Team”?

No matter what level sports, or what sport for that matter, the term “good program” gets thrown around as much as NIL.

The problem with this is just because a team is winning or performing well, doesn’t mean that it’s a good program.

Everybody knows what a good team looks like. Impressive stats, good players, and a lot of wins. But what does a good program look like? Is there a standard? Does it have something to do with Nick Saban’s “process”?

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that you stop hearing the term “program” past the college level. Nobody would say that the Atlanta Falcons are a good “program”. Good Team? So far. Good Organization? Yes. Good Franchise? Yes….most would say yes. It’s mainly college and high school sports entities that people talk about being a “program”.

To me, in order to be labeled as a “good program” it’s about development. Developing young men and women into great athletes, yes, but also developing the whole person.

Since sports fans are looking at how many NFL players that college programs produce, or how many recruiting “stars” come out of a high school program, it gets lost that MAYBE 5% of the teams will be making that jump to the next level. What happens to the other 95%?

That’s where a “good program” comes into play. There are so many programs and resources that are at the hands of the student-athletes now to prepare them for when that inevitable final pitch, last basket, or career ending snap is taken.

Most (not all) college athletic departments have put in incentives in place to prepare student-athletes after sports. One example of these is right here in our own back yard.

Georgia Southern Director of Athletics Jared Benko has put a great emphasis on the APEX program.  This is an outreach program that follows a curriculum through the career of the student-athlete that covers everything from financial literacy, teaching about taxes, job interview skills, and much more.

The student-athletes are also involved in community outreach, and sessions of needed skills that nobody thinks about like an emergency car care session to show athletes basic car maintenance, and emergency roadside tips.

This trickles down to the high school level too. Everybody wants to look at schools with a brand-new turf field, or a massive videoboard as good programs, and while that’s great, no discounting it at all, if you’re not invested in the people of your program, you’re just a good team…. if that.

Many times, at the high school level, some of these assets to the student athlete are open to all the students at the school and are spearheaded by coaches.

Take Southeast Bulloch for example. The last few years, Coaches Brent Osborne and Randy Lee have been building up the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) program at SEB that was dormant for over 20 years. Now up to about 65 members (many of them student-athletes for the Jackets), the FBLA hosts events for resume building, job interview skills, and other real-world experiences and skills that prepare the members and student-athletes in ways that many at other programs won’t have.

Don’t get me wrong, the “fancy” facilities don’t mean that a program is focusing more on the looks than the substance.

In addition to Randy Lee being RBs coach and Special teams coordinator for SEB Football, and Brent Osborne stepping away from on-field football coaching and moving to the broadcast booth this year, both Lee and Osborne are the Girls and Boys golf coaches for the Jackets and raised money to buy a state-of-the-art golf simulator for SEB golfers. Both can be done and are done well many places throughout the state.

So, what the heck does all this mean? It is just me going off on a soap box again? (maybe…) Just think next time you or you hear someone say, “man that’s a really good program”. Just think. Is it really a good program? Or is it just a good team?

Teachers Of Men

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I have lived in Glynn County my entire life.

I have a passion for football; that maybe my parents, wife, and close friends understand.

I was blessed as a youth to play high school football for a man that I idolize; recent Glynn County Sports Hall of Fame inductee John Willis.

Other than my father who turned 80 years old this week I consider John Willis the greatest influence in my life. The life lessons I learned playing for him prepared me for life. In my mind the things I learned from John Willis are bigger than football he helped develop me into a man.

As I look at the state of high school football in our community today, we are blessed to have three outstanding football coaches charged with developing men in our community.

Brandon Derrick/Frederica Academy: You talk about a coach who can take a little and turn it into a lot, then look no further than Derrick who has consistently developed winning teams at Frederica Academy.

With a State Championship in GISA and numerous region titles, Derrick takes teams that have low numbers and competes with schools with twice the number of players.

A trademark of Derrick football teams is tenacity. The Knights play with a mettle, spirit, and resolution that many of their opponents do not possess and late in ball games that shines through at clutch time.

The values that Derrick teaches will carry with these kids for the rest of their lives. Name me a more tenacious football team than the Frederica Knights? You have Brandon Derrick to thank for that.

Rocky Hidalgo/Glynn Academy: Coach Rock has been at Glynn Academy since 2014 and the fortunes of the program turned immediately.

By the end of the 2015 season Hidalgo had Glynn playing for a State Championship. A trademark of Hidalgo teams is that they are fundamentally sound, which speaks to discipline.

Discipline is a character trait this is seriously lacking among our youth today. Hidalgo teams are prepared down to every little detail.

All Glynn Academy teams I have witnessed are sound in all three phases of offense, defense, and special teams. If a game is tight then it is hard to bet against a Rocky Hidalgo team down the stretch.

Discipline is a trademark of Glynn Academy football and that is because of Rocky Hidalgo.

Garrett Grady/Brunswick High: You talk about a young dynamic coach who knows how to motivate his kids, look no further than Grady.

Grady is a grinder who has a work ethic that is second to none.

Since Grady was named the BHS coach in 2022, he has had the magic touch with the program. Community service, player exposure, everything Grady does he does at 100%.

The key character value I see at BHS currently under Grady is commitment. Grady is committed to these kids at BHS and the kids see that and are totally committed to him.

I’m a Pirate until I die, and Grady is the perfect man to head the BHS football program for years to come. There is a commitment to be great a BHS currently because of Garrett Grady.

Tenacity, discipline, and commitment. Strong core values. Values that are taught to young men on the football fields of Glynn County.

If you don’t think we are blessed on the head coaching front for high school football in Glynn County, then you are not paying attention.

Come out and enjoy a high school football game in Glynn County soon where you will see a collection of head football coaches that I would not want to trade for anyone.

Core values are being taught and all you must do is pay attention. For $10 you can see the hope of our future locally on Friday Nights. That is not a huge investment.


It’s Good!

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It just a PAT right? Point after touchdown……easy peasy.

The team scores and the kicker comes in and tacks on another point.

Tuck Tucker, the kicker for the Glynn Academy Red Terrors, has hit 10 of them so far in this short season.

I was lucky enough to coach Tuck when he was 11 and 12 years old. I coach the kickers and QBs and he was our kicker on the 2019 State Championship Glynn County Broncos U-12 rec department team.

Head down, drive through Tuck! You lift your head, your running another lap! I don’t know if he was extremely coachable or hated running laps. Probably a little of both! Just a great kid with a great attitude.

Fast forward to today and while Tuck is kicking for the Red Terrors, he’s stepped into something much bigger. He has become a part of the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to researching and finding cures and assisting children with pediatric cancers.

Alexandra “Alex” Scott was born in 1996, the second of 4 children in the Scott family. At the age of 1 she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a deadly type of childhood cancer.

At the age of 4 Alex asked her parents if she could open a lemonade stand to help with the fight against the disease. Out of this wooden Lemonade stand, selling cups of lemonade with the proceeds going to Cancer research, grew the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation that has raised millions of dollars for pediatric cancer research.

The Foundations motto is “Fighting childhood cancer, one cup at a time.” The mission statement is “Our mission is to change the lives of children with cancer through funding impactful research, raising awareness, supporting families, and empowering everyone to help cure childhood cancer.”

You can donate by going to the Foundation site online or at the lemonade stand at the Red Terrors home games.

And while you’re on the website, look for Tucks page.

Just type in Tuck Tucker on the ALSF search bar. His page is KICK! Cancer with Tuck Tucker.

It reads the following, “Im holding a fundraiser to help Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation move one step closer to finding a cure for all children with cancer. Ill be dedicating my season to kids with cancer by turning my stats into life-saving research dollars”.

“Please make a donation of any amount toward my fundraising goal. The money you donate will pay for research to find better treatments and cures for childhood cancer. You can help kids and their families by providing desperately needed hope!”

The Foundation has funded more than ONE THOUSAND Medical Research Grants since 2005.

According to Dr. David Poplack, “The ALSF grant program is helping researchers throughout the country move closer to the day when a cure is a reality…”

The ALSF is the only childhood cancer research organization that has been given the National Cancer Institute peer-reviewed funder designation for rigorous selection of research grants.   That’s how donations are helping.

I’d love to say that Alex Scott is alive and well and working with the Foundation. She would be 27 years old now. Sadly, that’s not the case.

Pediatric cancer is a killer and it took Alex’s life in 2004 at the age of 8. Before she died, Alex had raised over a million dollars for cancer research and inspired all around her. And it all started with a front yard lemonade stand and a girl who cared. So does Tuck. Give if you can.

As I was talking to Tuck, our conversation naturally went to kicking and I asked the junior kicker about the season.

He said he had made 10 out of 12 PATS with one of those being a block.

Well, what about the first one that you missed I asked? He said he saw the rush and clanked it off the crossbar. I said yep, you raised your head……..I didn’t make him run a lap.

Dragon Slayers

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The last time Coach Brandon Derrick started the season with a senior committed to a Division 1 team was 2018.

Jaylin Simpson and Jashawn Sheffield were ready to head to the plains to play for the Auburn Tigers, but first they had a State Championship to bring to St. Simons.

Fast forward to today. Record-setting running back Jordan Triplett is ready to embark on his final campaign in green & grey and is doing so as a future Air Force Academy Falcon.

After helping take the Knights to a state championship appearance in his freshman year, “The River” has his teammates ready to finish the job in 2023.

“They’ve committed themselves early on to come in, bust their butts,” says Head Coach Brandon Derrick, set to start his 11th season at the helm of Frederica Academy Football.

“They worked really hard in the off season, and then when I say off season, we started in January, when we started working out, we’ve had 125 possible days in the weight room. Everyone has been there for at least 120. They’ve worked really hard.”

The preseason roster sits at close to 40 players, which is higher than most seasons. The ability for the team to scrimmage against itself as opposed to the coaches will be a big relief, as will giving some in-game relief for some players that have been every down players on both offense & defense for the last few years.

Replacing graduated quarterback Sutton Ellis will be either Davis Durkin, Stanton Beverly, or Jalin Baldwin. According to Coach Derrick, it’s a three-way race between them at the moment, and Jordan Triplett may slide in and play some as well.

Here’s what the game-by-game results should look like for what should be another historic season in Frederica lore.

8/18 Brookwood School – Facing Brookwood at home and hopefully not during a multi-hour lightening delay should make a difference this year. The Knights open with a win, 31-13.

8/25 Tiftarea Academy – The Panthers are always a challenge, but a second straight week of home cookin’ takes the Knights to 2-0 to the tune of 28-17.

9/1 @ Valwood – Frederica gets it’s first of four road games on the season, heading over to Hahira. The Valiants play hard at home, but the Knights are already rolling & notch their third in a row 17-14.

9/15 John Milledge Academy – Holding fast to the 2018 parallels, Coach Derrick has his squad up against the reigning state champs under the oaks. Although the team finally lets one in the L column, the on-field performance proves to be a confidence builder. Knights lose a barnburner 42-38

9/22 @ Clinch County  – The score is closer than last year’s 45-6 drubbing, but the Green & Grey can’t quite break back into the win column, falling 31-27.

9/29 @ Tattnall Square Academy – The Knights hit the road and bring home a signature win, getting the upset win over Tattnall 28-17.

10/5 Robert Toombs – It’s a happy homecoming as the Knights string together another win over one of their oldest rivals. Jordan Triplett has a massive game and a 49-9 blowout.

10/19 Bulloch Academy – The heated, hated rivalry with the Gators fires up once again. The road team historically has the advantage in this series, but the Knights are too focused at home. The March to Mercer begins with a 35-24 win.

10/27 Pinewood – It’s Senior Night, and the class of ’24 leaves their mark. The Patriots fall to the Knights big time, 41-28.

11/3 @ St. Andrew’s – The Lions still have a long way to go before they’re competitive in the region. Knights wrap up the regular season in a 45-9 slobber knocker.

FINAL RECORD – 8-2, Region Champions, deep run into the state playoffs.


Savage Bears

By: Garrison Ryfun

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Pierce County has been a powerhouse in 3A and 2A for years, winning their last state title in Fall 2020 while in 3A.

This year will be a rebuilding year for the Bears as they lose their top three rushers, starting quarterback, and three of their four top receivers from the 2022 season. I expect the Bears to bounce back fast as they seem to have in years past.

August 25th – Pierce vs Jeff Davis: I expect Pierce to win this game, though probably not to the margin they did last year. Expect some growing pains for the Bears but for them to win handily here.

September 1st – Pierce vs Metter: Pierce handily won over a decent Metter team in 2022. Look for a closer contest but still ultimately a win for the Bears, helping them get on track with a lot of new skill players.

September 8th – Pierce @ Liberty County: Pierce beat down Liberty County 47-6 last year, the worst loss Liberty had all season. Though I do expect some bumps in the road early in the season for Pierce, I have them winning this game against a team that will be hungry for revenge.

September 15th – Pierce vs Charlton County: The last non-region game of the season comes at home vs Charlton, another team they beat down last year 48-13. Charlton can be a solid 1A team, but I see Pierce really hitting their stride at this point in the season and picking up another win before region play starts.

September 22nd – Pierce @ Brantley County: The start of region play in 2023 for the Bears, the games that actually matter toward playoff seeding. There will be no drama in this contest between the Herons, the Bears will pick up their first region win in their first region game.

September 29th – Pierce vs Appling County: Appling County was one of two teams to beat Pierce last season, made it to the state semi-finals, and was also the winner of their region. With Appling returning more of their top talent, this game should favor the Pirates. Though I do expect Pierce to be back in gear by now, I think they drop this game to a tough Appling County team.

October 6th – Bye Week: This bye week comes at an opportune time after their first loss, and what will likely be a very physical contest.

October 13th – Pierce @ Toombs County: Toombs played Pierce very close last season in a 31-28 contest. In another rebuilding year I might call for an upset, but Toombs is losing their top two running backs from last season. Pierce will be in high gear at this point and will pull out a win at Toombs County.

October 20th – Pierce @ Windsor Forest: Windsor Forest has long been a punching bag in this area of high school football, with many teams making them a homecoming opponent over the years. Do not expect that to change this season, Pierce wins big in Savannah.

October 27th – Pierce vs Vidalia: Vidalia just missed the playoffs last season after losing to Tattnall County in October. This will be a team that will be hungry for that rematch. Between Pierce and Vidalia on the other hand, I have Pierce winning once again.

November 3rd – Pierce vs Tattnall County: Pierce vs Tattnall was not much of a contest last year as the Bears won 37-7. I think the game will be closer this year but I see Pierce winning this game to once again secure a home seed in the 2A playoffs.

I have a rebuilding Pierce County Bears team going 9-1, heading into the playoffs with a chance to make some noise.

Wave Of Terror

By: Garrison Ryfun

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Glynn Academy finished the 2022 season with a record of 6-5, after losing a close game in the first round of the playoffs at Northside-Warner Robins.

Throughout the 2022 season, Glynn evolved as a team and really found their offensive identity in the latter half of the season with a focus on getting the ball into their best playmakers’ hands.

Two of those playmakers will be back this season in junior Greg Peacock and recent Georgia Tech commit, senior David Prince.

This shift in offensive philosophy took the Terrors from averaging 20 points per game in their first seven games to 31.5 points per game in their last four.

August 18th – Glynn vs Statesboro: Last year in Statesboro, the Terrors won in a 43-42 shoot-out to begin their season. Since that game, the Terrors found their offensive identity and ended 2022 looking like a better team. While the Blue Devils of Statesboro ended their season on a disappointing note, finishing the year 3-8. I have Glynn picking up the win at home this year.

August 25th – Glynn @ McIntosh County Academy: The MCA game in 2022 was a game that felt like Glynn had full control of, but Glynn never pulled away. MCA is a solid 1A team, but I have Glynn picking up the win in Darien.

September 1st – Glynn vs Camden County: Last year’s Camden County game felt like a wake-up call for the Terrors. They were shut out until a long run from Hank Noonan in the fourth quarter. I expect the game to be closer this year, but don’t know if they will pull off the upset.

September 7th – Glynn vs Baker County (FL): A part of the 2nd Annual Florida-Georgia Border War Classic, this will be a Thursday night game for the Terrors. Last year they took on Creekside (FL) in the first Border War, losing 21-20 in a torrential downpour. Baker County beat Richmond Hill in the Classic last year and seemed to be a solid team in their division in Florida. I expect this to be a tough contest for the Terrors, and the homer in me wants to say they’ll pick up a hard fought win before the bye week.

September 15th – Bye Week: Region play starts after this bye week.

September 22nd – Glynn vs Brunswick High: Glynn will be the home team this year for the City Championship. Glynn has now lost three in a row to Brunswick, but last year was the widest margin of the three with Brunswick winning 55-21. Glynn will need to dominate time of possession and get some key turnovers if they want to win this year’s City Championship.

September 29th – Glynn @ Effingham County: Last season, with worries of Hurricane Ian threatening to impact South Georgia, the game was moved up to a Wednesday. After a disappointing loss in 2022, I expect Glynn to be hungry to get after Effingham this season.

October 6th – Glynn vs South Effingham: Though the scoreboard does not reflect it, this may have been the game where Glynn figured out their offensive identity last year. I expect this to be a bigger win for Glynn in 2023.

October 13th – Glynn @ Grovetown: The game where it seemed to all come together for Glynn in 2022, winning 46-13. Though the drive to Augusta will be long, I expect Glynn to pick up the win again this year.

October 20th – Glynn @ Evans: After a comeback 25-22 win against Evans last year, Glynn kept their #3 seed hopes alive. I expect Evans will put up a tough fight after last year’s win.

October 27th – Bye week

November 3rd – Glynn vs Lakeside (Evans): Glynn finished up the regular season last year, with a 42-20 win over Lakeside (Evans). A team that had some young stars, I expect the game to be a little closer this year but for Glynn to get the win.

For now, I have Glynn going 8-2 with losses to Camden and Brunswick High. This team will have a chance to make a legitimate run in the playoffs, like a lot of past Rocky Hidalgo-coached teams have.



By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Coach Bradley Warren has done a fantastic job at McIntosh County Academy.

He begins his fifth season with the Buccaneers this fall. MCA finished 10-2 last fall winning the region championship.

Coach Warren said this about his football team: “We currently have 50-55 players on the roster. I feel like we have a solid core of young men to work with. They work hard and respond well to what we ask them to do. I have a great staff that devotes time to these young men and these kids respond to that. We have six starters returning on defense and four starters on offense coming back this fall. When you look at our region Jenkins County and ECI will be very good. We travel to both this fall. Portal is improving every year and Montgomery County was a playoff team last fall. I feel good about our football team and overall program. We have good younger talent coming through our program as well. Also, we have a great support system at MCA. Our fans are great, and we get great community support for all aspects of our football program.”

2023 Schedule/My Predictions:

8/18    At Johnson, Savannah: MCA opens the season in Savannah against Johnson. This game should not be much of a problem. Look for MCA to start the season 1-0.

8/25    Glynn Academy: The Terrors travel up Highway 17 to Darien to play MCA. 1A MCA always gives 6A Glynn Academy fits. Could the Bucs pull the huge upset? It is possible but not likely. MCA drops a close one to GA to go 1-1 on the season.

9/09    At West Nassau Florida (Brunswick, GA -Glynn County Stadium): MCA drilled West Nassau 42-8 in 2022 and will do the same in 2023. 2-1.

9/15    At Lanier County: Lanier County made the playoffs in 2022 and the bus must travel to Lakeland for this one. MCA finds a way to win. 3-1.

9/22    At Bradwell Institute: Another big jump in classification as MCA travels to Hinesville to play the Tigers. Bradwell is an enigma to me. Hinesville has historically been a tough place to play at. Bradwell has been down for years, but they have athletes. Based on how both programs have trended lately give me MCA in his contest. MCA beat Bradwell 40-13 at home in 2022. MCA goes to 4-1 on the season.

9/29    Atkinson County: ATCO will get drilled in Darien. MCA goes to 5-1 on the season and gets ready for the region schedule.

10/06  At Jenkins County: Coach Warren tells me that Jenkins County returns their entire offense from a 7-4 playoff team in 2022. A region opener on the road against a team that will contend for a region championship will be tough. Last season was a classic 4-OT thriller that MCA won 27-21 in Darien. MCA finds a way to win these types of games under Coach Warren. Give me MCA in another war. MCA is 6-1 on the season.

10/13  Montgomery County: The Bucs shut out the Eagles last season in Mt. Vernon and will win this one to go 7-1.

10/20  At Emanuel County Institute: ECI has been a good football program for a long time. Coach Warren corrected me when I said they were down in 2022. I glanced at their 2022 schedule, and they played Metter, Swainsboro, Lincoln County, Dublin, and Johnson County in non-region games. That is a brutal non-region schedule in single A football. This one will be tough for MCA. Going to be hard to beat both Jenkins and ECI on the road so I think ECI pulls this one out. The Bucs fall to 7-2 on the season.

10/27  Portal: MCA is not losing to Portal at home on Senior Night in Darien. MCA finishes the season at 8-2.

I have MCA, ECI, and Jenkins County all beating each other to finish 3-1 in the region standings. Region tie breaker scenarios will determine the playoff seeds 1-3 with Montgomery County being the four seed.


Brooklet Buzz

By: Colin Lacy

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2023 season welcomes in high hopes for Southeast Bulloch football as they enter year two as a 4A program.

Before reclassification from 3A to 4A prior to the 2022 season, the Jackets spent the previous 6 years (2016-2021) in region 3-3A where they were one of two teams that owned the region with Liberty County.

After the magical 10-2 2021 season where the program recorded their first state playoff victory since the state championship season of 1973, the 2022 campaign was a whole different ballgame in the toughest region of the 4A ranks that saw SEB post a 2-8 record.

That record can be a little misleading, with SEB having an opportunity to sneak into the state playoffs in the final matchup of the season, but a record is what it is. A 2-8 record, however, does light a fire under the Jackets and third year Head Coach Jared Zito.

Year three for Zito, will see his third different starting quarterback taking snaps for the Yellow Jackets. All Region selection, Kristian Clark graduated after the 2021 season and continued his football career at Savannah State.

Gage DiGiovanni then took the reigns in 2022 as a senior and is now headed to South Georgia College on the baseball diamond.

This year, all indications point to one of the key leaders for the Jackets, Will Nelson. Nelson served as the QB-2 last season, as well as anchoring the defense as a safety during his junior year. This year it appears Nelson, a three-sport standout at SEB, will be given the keys to the offense.

Last season, due to injuries and just sheer numbers, the Jackets were forced to play A TON of underclassmen especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Although the Jackets will feel the loss of names like Terry Mikell, Damion Donaldson, and Collin Jackson up front on the D-Line, there is still experience with Michael Dixon, and Jayden Brown.

The back 7, for third year defensive coordinator Jason Anthony, is primed to take a huge step forward because of that underclassman experience.

Colby Smith took the linebacker spot by storm as a freshman racking up 10+ tackles three times even though missing three games with an injury in 2022.

Kyle O’Brien turned into a sophomore beast in the secondary with 5 games of double digit stops including 15 against Wayne County.

These two in addition to rising sophomores like Chase Douglas, Jeremiah Williams are set to have the Jacket defense a huge strength of the squad.

Offensively, there are a lot of questions to be answered of who will step up and fill roles vacated by graduation.

The Jackets will have 6 seniors to replace in the “skill” positions and 3 of the 5 starting offensive linemen, losing Cleve Hart at center, and the McMillian brothers (Quenton and Quintez) on the right side of the line.

Kyon Taylor does return at running back after an injury riddled 2022, while still posting 3 games of 100 yards or more.

Taylor will be likely paired with wide-outs Easton Phillips, and Gage Newsome to reshape the offense.

Finally, not many season previews hit on special teams, but it has been a huge part of the Jackets identity.

Coach Zito has put an emphasis on all parts special teams and shows with the development of kicker Cole Snyder with the help of special teams coordinator Randy Lee.

Snyder, an all-region kicker and punter in 2022, has a big leg that has been a weapon for Southeast Bulloch both flipping the field on punts, and also booming field goals.

So, what’s the outlook for SEB in 2023?

There’s a lot to be excited about in Brooklet. Do we know how many wins that translates to?

No, but being around this program there’s hunger to prove 2-8 is not the norm.

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