Wayne County Yellow Jackets 2022 Preview

Old Familiar Sting

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Wayne County High has taken a rapid fall from some lofty heights. They’re hoping the rebound will be just as quick.

Just four short years ago, the Yellow Jackets of coach Ken Cribb went undefeated in the regular season. It would be their second straight region championship, and the second out of four straight playoff appearances.

The last postseason berth in that streak was a less than inspiring COVID-year campaign that saw the team go 3-8 and back into the playoffs, losing a close game in the first round to the Jones County Greyhounds.

Then, in 2021, the bottom fell out. The team went 0-9 on the season – their first winless season since 1923. Wayne suffered shutout losses to Ware, Coffee, and Pierce.

Coach Cribb would go on to resign, wrapping up a five-year stint that saw the team post a 31-23 record.

Enter a new administration with solid regional bonafides in the form of Jaybo Shaw.

Coach Shaw, a top 10 all-time QB at Georgia Southern, comes to Jesup after a stellar stint at Rabun County.

In three seasons at the helm of the Wildcats, Coach Shaw notched an impressive 35-5 record and oversaw the development of the much-anticipated UGA signal caller, Gunner Stockton.

In multiple interviews earlier in the year, Coach Shaw said all the right things about the Yellow Jackets program.

Wayne County supports its football team, last year was tough but a learning experience for the players, the 2022 schedule looks tough but exciting.

The season will indeed be an exciting one, and although it will be tough to put up the kind of win/loss records that coach Shaw is used to, nothing is out of the question when it comes to southeast Georgia high school football.

Here’s how we see the season unfolding for the new coach:

WEEK 1 – BRADWELL INSTITUTE – In a matchup of two winless teams from the previous year, it’s not out of the question for the team to be amped up to show their new coach what they’ve got. We’ll give the edge to the Yellow Jackets, 28-14.

WEEK 2 – BROOKS COUNTY – They may be in a lower division, but they were state champs in that division. In a close one on the road, the Trojans even things up on the early season, Yellow Jackets fall 21-17.

WEEK 3 – APPLING COUNTY – The Pirates let the Jackets have it last year, walloping them to the tune of 41-7. It should be a little less lopsided this year, but not enough for the win. Wayne drops to 1-2, 35-24.

WEEK 4 – STATESBORO – The Former GSU Eagle will have his squad ready for this trip to the ‘Boro. Put another W on the scoreboard for Coach Shaw in Bulloch County, 31-10.

WEEK 5 – JENKINS HIGH – The Warriors surprised many with a playoff berth last season. The Jackets won’t be looking past them to their region schedule. Another win for Wayne in a low scoring affair, 17-10.

WEEK 6 – BURKE COUNTY – In a battle of Wayne vs. Waynesboro, the Bears will be the far more formidable force. Coach Shaw will have his team hitting its stride, but the team that many are expecting to challenge Benedictine for the region crown will just be too much. Burke over Wayne, 41-10.

WEEK 7 – ISLANDS – The Sharks will be the ones getting bitten this time around. Yellow Jackets go to .500 in the region in their first lopsided win, 49-6.

WEEK 8 – NEW HAMPSTEAD – Both teams struggle, and the Phoenix unfortunately rises. Yellow Jackets fall in overtime, 24-21.

WEEK 9 – BENEDICTINE – The defending State Champions look to run it back for another crown. They won’t be for long, but the Yellow Jackets will be just a blip on their radar this year. Cadets win big, 51-12.

WEEK 10 – SE BULLOCH – The Yellow Jackets vs. the Yellowjackets. Wayne County fights hard to salvage a .500 season and to make the playoffs. They manage the upset, 27-24.

FINAL RECORD FOR THE YEAR: 5-5 & a playoff berth.