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Rebels lose versatile Wallace to shoulder injury
Keion Wallace
Rebels wide receiver Keion Wallace was named to the All-Region 2-AAAAAA first team. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD — Effingham County’s two-sport star Keion Wallace will miss the entire football season and part of the basketball season because of a shoulder injury.

The all-region wide receiver in football and co-Player of the Year in basketball said he suffered a torn labrum and broke a bone in the front of his left shoulder after the shoulder popped out while recently playing pickup basketball.

Wallace said he had on-going problems with the same shoulder he first hurt while playing football. 

The junior is expected to have surgery Tuesday and could be sidelined for four months.

“You just have to accept it and roll with it,” said Wallace, after watching ECHS’ football scrimmage against Screven County on Friday night. “I know my teammates will have my back. They worked just as hard as I did during the summer. They’re the ones that got me here. I feel like they can make it.”

At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, Wallace, who has a 3.8 grade-point average as well, was already drawing major college attention as a wide receiver. He had offers from Georgia Tech, Texas A&M and Ole Miss.

Wallace’s best highlight tape came against Statesboro, when he caught 10 passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns.

“I told (the college recruiters) about (the injured shoulder) and they told me to get well,” said Wallace, who still has the offers.

Wallace was expected to be a key contributor to both ECHS football and basketball the next two years. In football, he played wide receiver on offense and defensive end/linebacker on defense.

“Keion’s a special player on both sides of the ball so it’s like losing two players,” Rebels football coach John Ford said. “(The season-ending injury) happened early enough that we could reorganize the depth chart, but obviously we’ll be missing a ton. He’s a great player and a great kid too.”

The ECHS basketball team may get Wallace back for the second half of the season. He averaged 15.8 points and eight rebounds a game last season while leading the team to an 18-8 record and a berth in the state tournament.

Wallace had the strength to play inside and the finesse to play on the perimeter. With all five starters and top two subs returning, the Rebels were hoping for an even better year in 2021-22.

“It hurts when the returning player of the year in the region isn’t there in the first part of the season, but if it were another kid, I’d be worried,” ECHS basketball coach Jake Darling said. “Keion is one of the toughest mentally I’ve ever coached so he’s going to be in there rehabbing and working hard to get back on the court.”