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Fourth-down gamble pays off for Burke County
Effingham County's Andrew Delapenia (37) gets in on a first-half tackle of Burke County running back Jaylen Odom, who was upended near midfield Friday night. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD -- There was no magical comeback for Effingham County this time. The Burke County Bears wouldn't allow it.

Facing a fourth down in his own territory while clinging to a 28-19 lead midway through the final period, Bears coach Eric Parker opted to go for it. His team didn't let him down as Jaylen Odom, needing just two yards, rambled for 35 to the Rebels. 27.

Burke County (4-0) tallied its final touchdown two plays later, effectively snuffing the Rebels' hopes in what ended up as a 35-19 Bears win.

 Last week, Effingham County (2-3)  beat Statesboro 38-34 after trailing 28-7 in the third quarter.

"We didn't want to give them the ball back," Parker said. "We had some success running the ball so we decided -- if we are the team we say we are -- we need to get a yard or two."

Parker's Class AAAA  team gained 486 yards on 77 rushes. It also passed for 87 yards.

Despite the Bears' gaudy statistics, the Rebels stayed close because of a couple of interceptions and fourth-down stops. They needed one more big play than they got, however.

"I was hoping (the fourth-and-2) would work out for us there, but they are a very good team, a top 10 team, for a reason," Holder said. "They do a great job and they have a bright future ahead of them."

Despite the defeat, Holder was pleased with the grit his team showed.

"Our kids hung in there and competed," he said.See the Sept. 27 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.