MACON — Effingham County’s defensive players didn’t measure up to their opponents on the scales Friday night. They made up for the weight deficiency in other ways, however.
“It’s technique, quickness, desire and determination,” Rebels head coach John Ford said after the Rebels dispatched the Howard Huskies 27-6 at the Ed Defore Complex.
Effingham County (2-1) limited Howard (2-2) to 113 total yards on 60 plays. The Huskies were shut out until capping an 18-play, 78-yard with a one-yard touchdown run by Gerraud Pertillo with 3:31 left in the contest.
It was the first points the Rebels had allowed in seven quarters. They blanked Lakeside-Evans 20-0 the previous week.
“Coach (Tommy) Gilstrap and the defense did an awesome job again,” Ford said.
Effingham County’s defense even put some points on the board. With 2:25 left in the second period, cornerback Timothy Brown made a one-handed fumble recovery and raced 33 yards for a touchdown that put the Rebels on top 13-0.
Pertillo lost the ball after getting hit at his 28. It popped forward to Brown without ever hitting the ground.
Just over a minute later, one of the Rebels’ special teams made its mark on the scoreboard. With Khiry Wallace putting pressure on him, Howard’s punter whiffed while trying to kick the ball and Allen Lee scooped it up and lugged it 29 yards for a touchdown.
Another punt mishap helped Effingham County extend its lead to 27-0 early in the third quarter. After its opening drive flamed out near midfield after three plays, a high punt snap rolled all the way to the Howard 30.
Eight plays later, including five straight rushes by Xayvier Coppack, the Rebels reached the end zone for the final time. The touchdown came on a fourth-down plunge from the 1 by Coppack.
During the drive following a short reception by Brown, a player skirmish broke out. Coaches from both teams ran onto the field to break up the fracas, which resulted in offsetting penalties and an ejection.
The Rebels finished with 182 total yards after amassing 120 by halftime. That was far short of the 335 they amassed against Lakeside.
“Howard has a good defense,” Coach Ford said.
Effingham County’s best drive came on its first possession of the game. It advanced 77 yards in seven plays, including a 19-yard touchown pass from Matthew Ford to Wallace.
Matthew Ford passed for 134 yards, completing 12 of 17 attempts.
Effingham County is set to return to action Friday at South Effingham (1-2). It is the Region 2-AAAAAA opener for the county rivals.