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Edge in experience pays off for Rebels in rivalry contest
Michaela Sampson
Michaela Sampson carries the ball across the goal line for Effingham County’s first touchdown as South Effingham’s Riley Brown (1) pursues her Thursday. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald

GUYTON — Two years of experience are usually better than one and that held true when the flag football teams of Effingham County and South Effingham met on Veterans Day.

ECHS had a couple of veterans of the game in its second year of flag football; SEHS trots out rookies in its first year.

But the two teams showed they’re making progress Thursday as the regular season wound down at The Corral. The Rebels made a few more plays and left with a 13-0 victory.

“I think (flag football) is catching on,” ECHS coach Elodie Lockhart said. “We had more (athletic) girls coming out. We had some softball girls and a couple of basketball girls come out and that’s made a difference. And this is our second year, so we’re more experienced too.”

After going winless last season, the Rebels won four games this year.

Lockhart said the arrival of sophomore quarterback Sarah Hinely was a missing piece.

“Once she came in and we saw the quarterback in her, that was a game changer, that’s for sure,” Lockhart said.

Hinely, who competed on the varsity track and field team last season, threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Michaela Sampson less than five minutes into the game against South Effingham and scored on a 5-yard run as time expired in the first half.

Varsity softball outfielder Morgan Coleman, a junior, ran in a one-point conversion after the first score.

The Rebels defense made the first-half lead hold up although South’s offense came up big when Isabella Rodriguez completed a 30-yard pass to Anna Elliott.

“I feel this team almost needs that wakeup call,” Mustangs coach Amanda Johnson said. “We’re a second-half team. I wish we could be a first-half and a second-half team.”

SEHS might also be a second half of the season team. During the last two weeks, the Mustangs got their first win against another first-year program, Savannah Christian, then played Savannah Arts tough before falling 16-8.

“We lost a couple of starters through injuries so we’ve moved players around and we’re seeing people holding their own,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot less ‘what-do-we-do-next’ looks from the players so it’s a lot more enjoyable. They have (the understanding of the game) now it’s just a matter of having the confidence.”