SPRINGFIELD — Senior Devontra Bartley loves everything about being an offensive lineman. The left tackle for the Effingham County football team enjoys the thrill of the game and the fact that he can get his hands dirty.
Bartley’s favorite part about playing Friday nights is taking down the guy in front of him, especially if he is lacking in size. Bartley is 5-foot-8, 285 pounds.
“Little defensive ends and defensive backs that come off the edge, I can just hit them,” he said.
Bartley, who is entering his second season on the Rebels’ varsity, said his last season in a Rebel uniform is bittersweet. Each day that passes is one he doesn’t take lightly.
“I don’t want to rush it,” he said.
When it comes to having a winning mentality, Bartley’s approach is simple — fear no one.
“(I tell myself) I’m better than the guy in front of me and I have to beat him each play,” he explained.
Effingham County’s offensive line is defined as a brotherhood — a collective effort in the trenches. Their performance will be crucial as the Rebels work to develop continuity with a newcomer at quarterback. Longtime starter Jerid Stokes has graduated.
“We have a young QB and we have to get him together,” Bartley said. “We have to put some pieces together and get the offense rolling. We have to keep working together. We have to stay after practice, do extra stuff and run through plays.
“I have to get my footwork better and get stronger.”
In his final season, Bartley has three goals.
“I want to win a state championship, try to get (college scholarship) offers and get out of Effingham,” he said.