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Rebels clamp down on Panthers after early struggles
Effingham County's Zebrandon Gant (10) changes direction en route to a big gain against Liberty County on Friday night. Michael Richard (63) and Casey Ulmer (72) pave the way with blocks. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

HINESVILLE -- Effingham County coach Buddy Holder's worst nightmare came true, but at least it didn't last long.

Speedy Liberty County running back Kris Coleman ripped Holder's Rebels for touchdown runs of 58 and 95 yards in the first 16 minutes Friday night. The Panthers, however, couldn't muster a thing offensively the rest of the way and lost 37-13 at Donell Woods Stadium.

Liberty County finished with 237 total yards, gaining just 74 on their 37 plays that didn't end in scores by Coleman.

"They have great athletes over there and we were worried about them all week long bouncing stuff and getting those athletes in space," Holder said. "It's hard to tackle them, and they did a good job of exploiting what we were worried about."

Eventually forced to pass, however, Liberty County's attack withered. Quarterback Dionte Bowens was sacked several times and finished with one completion for four yards. He was also picked off by Zebrandon Gant.

"We knew our defensive line matched up well with their O-line and they got forced into a situation where they had to do something they didn't want to do," Holder said.

Gant also had a big night on offense, rushing for 185 yards on 28 attempts. One of his runs was good for a 70-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Effingham County racked up 405 total yards, getting 199 on the ground and 206 through the air. Jerid Stokes tossed touchdowns to Treveon Wilkenson and Demario Gant. He also scored on a 1-yard sneak.

Zach Thomas added field goals of 22, 35 and 44 yards.

See the Oct. 4 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.