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Edwards named Region 2-AAAAAA's offensive player of the year
Cam Edwards
Mustangs running back Cam Edwards (1) dives into the end zone over Richmond Hill defensive back Ravon Grant to score a 40-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter of a 2021 contest. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

All-Region 2-AAAAAA awards

Coach of the Year -- Sean Pender, Brunswick

Player of the Year -- Kashawn Thomas, Brunswick

Offensive Player of the Year -- Cameron Edwards, South Effingham

Defensive Player of the Year -- Eli Leiataua, Bradwell Institute

Local all-region picks

South Effingham -- P/K Liam Rickman.

Effingham County -- QB Matthew Ford, RB/DB Miquel Allen, WR/DB Ashley Thompson, WR/DB Caleb Williams, DL Keysean McCarr, LB Tucker Wilson, WR/DB Timmy Brown.

Honorable Mention

South Effingham -- OL Peyton Beasley, ATH Joell Laldee, LB Louis Hicks, DL Matt Moore, DB Tyrik Guyton, LB William Christmas, DL Damyon McFarlin, DL Tanner Hughes.

Effingham County -- DB Messiah Bacon, DL Christian Dillon, WR/DB Khiry Wallace, DL Cooper Nease, TE Trevor Shanning, OL Trey Gordy, LB/P Tyler Wells. 

 By Donald Heath

Special to the Effingham Herald

GUYTON -- Quite often in sports, to the victor goes the spoils.

South Effingham had just two football wins this season, but the Region 2-AAAAAA coaches didn’t hold that against Cameron Edwards.

The Mustangs senior running back displayed his value throughout the season, rushing for 1,093 yards and eight touchdowns, and was rewarded with the region’s Offensive Player of the Year honor.

Edwards’ final three-game tear -- 95 carries for 527 yards and four TDs -- only provided voters with more evidence to honor a special individual season.

“I wasn’t surprised,” the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder said. “At the start of the season (winning the offensive award) was one of my goals.

“The award’s not just for me. I have to thank my teammates and coaches.”

Edwards posted all his offensive numbers -- he had another 99 yards receiving -- in just nine games because of a shoulder injury.

Edwards accounted for more than 50 percent of SEHS’ total offense. He had a career-high 232 yards and three scores in the season-ending victory over Bradwell Institute.

“It became obvious to move the ball we had to get it in his hands and he did a great job,” Mustangs coach Nathan Clark said.

Edwards wasn’t as agreeable a year earlier and left the team at midseason.

“There were off-the-field issues and I took my frustrations out on the wrong people,” Edwards said. “I had to take a step back.”

He returned to SEHS athletics in the spring and dominated in track and field. He was the state champion in the triple jump, placed sixth at state in the long jump and seventh in the high jump.

And he was ready to show he could be a leader on the football team. Few doubted what he could do physically -- squatting 525 pounds, benching 315, running the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds and posting a 35-inch vertical jump.

In his final football season, Edwards gave a glimpse of what his future can look like.

Some of his best games came against the toughest competition. He ran for 184 yards and two TDs against region champion Bunswick. He had 170 rushing yards and a score and another 89 receiving yards against second-place Richmond Hill.

Edwards ran for 112 yards and a touchdown against Benedictine, a team that just advanced to the state semifinals.

“We made him prove he wanted to be part of (a team),” Clark said. “He not only bought in, but he became a leader of the team. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do a 180 (degree turn) like he did. I’m so proud of him.”