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ECHS begins spring in search of new QB
Tucker Perkins
Junior Tucker Perkins (No. 13) was among three quarterbacks working with Effingham County's varsity football team on May 3 during spring practice. (Mark Lastinger for the Effingham Herald.)

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald


SPRINGFIELD – After three spring football practices, Effingham County has three quarterbacks under its magnifying glass.

Tucker Perkins, Kris Swinney and Kyzer DeLoach are the candidates to trigger Coach John Ford’s multiple offense. They have big shoes to fill. Graduating senior Nate Hayes, a two-year starter, directed a high-octane attack and earned region Offensive Player of the Year honors after leading the squad to a region championship.

Now the job could be turned over to a rising junior or one of the two rising sophomores.

“They all like each other. They’re all supporting each other,” Ford said. “There’s no pettiness, no pulling against one another. They’re working and trying to get the job done. I’m excited to see how it plays out.”

Kyzer DeLoach
Sophomore quarterback Kyzer DeLoach (No. 12) gets instruction from Effingham County coach John Ford during spring practice on May 3. (Mark Lastinger for the Effingham Herald.)
In three previous years with the Rebels, Ford molded the offense to fit the personnel. With strong-armed quarterback Matthew Ford at quarterback, ECHS used short passes to get receivers in space. In Hayes’ first year, the Rebels mixed in equal portions of the run and pass. Last season, they were more run heavy.

John Ford likes the versatility of his three new quarterback candidates.

“All three have really good arms and all three are good athletes,” he said. “We just have to figure out what they do best and try to do as much of that as we can.”

During goal-line drills, which featured the offensive line against the defensive line, Perkins had fun faking the handoff and racing around the end to expose the outside defender who was pitching in to get to the expected ballcarrier.

Perkins, who was third string last season, didn’t mind playfully reminding the defender to account for the quarterback as he walked into the endzone untouched.

“(Perkins) plays hard and he loves the game,” Ford said. “He did an awesome job behind Nate last year. I love Nate, but God forbid, if Nate went down, Tucker would have come in and (our play calling) wouldn’t have changed.”

Swinney and DeLoach saw time on junior varsity last season. Swinney, who was a catcher and outfielder and lead-off batter on the varsity baseball team last season, will be competing to play defensive back in football as well.

The trio will have a chance to display their talents throughout the 10 spring practices, which end with a spring game at Richmond Hill on May 15.

Ford said the quarterbacks, along with the rest of the team, get a break from football during the second half of May to concentrate on finals.

The week of Memorial Day (May 27-June 1) is a dead week (no practice) in accordance with Georgia High School Association rules. 

Summer workouts begin June 3.

“At this point, you want to have an idea of who’s going to fill the holes of a really good senior class last year. You want to get them enough quality experience to go into the summer to feel like we have a good plan and continue our scheme,” Ford said.