SE Bulloch gets playoff berth after Beach forfeits

Beach’s first football playoff appearance since 2011 is over before it began. And Southeast Bulloch, which tought its season was over, is getting ready for a game Friday against Region 1 champion Crisp County.

‘’We were packing up our stuff today until at 8:30 this morning,’’ Southeast Bulloch coach Barrett Davis said. “I got a call saying some teams have been bumped out and now we are in as 4 seed. We are excited.’’

Beach, a Savannah school, reported the participation of three ineligible players, which prompted the GHSA to rule Beach’s five victories as forfeits. Beach goes from 6-3 overall and 6-2 in Region 3-AAA to 0-9 and 0-8. 

Beach had been the No. 3 seed and was slated to play at Cook on Friday in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs. Instead, Windsor Forest, the original No. 4 seed from that region, moves up into that slot while Southeast Bulloch comes off the bench to fill the void.

Beach is the second Savannah school to be leveled with forfeits this season. Islands forfeited four wins, two in region play, for violating the GHSA’s recruiting and undue influence bylaws.

One of those forfeits came against Beach in a game that Islands won 35-21. That game is now in the books as a rare double forfeit. There have been only four double-forfeits in GHSA history, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association.

Coincidentally, the first also entailed a pair of Savannah schools - Groves and Windsor Forest - in 1983. The others were Waycross vs. Brooks County in a 1990 playoff game and Lithonia and Stone Mountain in a 2009 

This season, Islands would’ve finished 8-2 overall, 6-2 in region play, and made the playoffs but finished fifth place with the forfeits.

The GHSA has not revealed why the Beach players were ineligible. Beach is appealing the ruling Tuesday, but the GHSA has changed the playoff bracket.

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