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Effingham County lacrosse teams take different paths to wins over rival
Danny Padgett
Effingham County’s Danny Padgett pushes South Effingham’s Chase Whittle (11) during Friday’s match at The Corral. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
Mattie Turner
Effingham County’s Alaina Garcia impedes South Effingham’s Mattie Turner as Faith Strickland (5) looks on during Thursday’s match at The Corral. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald

 GUYTON — The Effingham County girls needed a halftime pep talk while the Rebels boys only required directions to the opposing goal.

Two differing approaches on two different days led ECHS to the same conclusion — two lacrosse wins against rival South Effingham at The Corral.

The Rebels’ girl surged in the second half to beat the Mustangs 11-5 on Thursday while the ECHS boys methodically rolled to a 15-1 victory the next day.

“After halftime, we told them we just have to play our game,” Rebels coach Jane Trzaska said. “They didn’t look like themselves in the first half. They took that to heart and stepped up and played to their ability.”

The ECHS girls (1-1) played well in a one-point loss to Savannah Christian in the season opener but looked lethargic at the start against the Mustangs.

SEHS (0-3) led 2-0 on goals by Mattie Turner. And when the Rebels fought back to take the lead, Turner scored to knot the game 3-3 and Bella Tatum got an equalizer that made it 4-4.

But led by freshman Mackenzie Brown and sophomore Morgan Coleman, ECHS’ offense clicked into gear. Coleman had the go-ahead goal with 16:40 left (girls play two 25-minute halves) and Brown, starting her attack from behind the net, scored three straight times in a 2 ½-minute span to expand the lead to 8-4.

“We had a little rocky start, but we worked our way out and communicated more and were able to get a win,” said Brown, who finished with four goals.

Coleman also had four goals.

Turner had three goals for the Mustangs.

In the boys game, ECHS scored four goals in the first quarter, six in the second quarter — a 10-0 lead starting a running clock — and had five more in the third quarter.

“We had some opportunities to set some things up and we had some goals on set plays. That’s always good because that’s what you have to count on,” Rebels boys coach Owen Nix said.

Both ECHS and SEHS began playing lacrosse in the Georgia High School Association last season, but the Rebels (3-1) started their program as a club team six years ago and the experience showed against the Mustangs.

Junior attacker Trent Morgan, who has been playing since the eighth grade, led ECHS with five goals — all in the second quarter.

Morgan has been the Rebels’ offensive catalyst this season. He had three goals in an 8-7 overtime win against Savannah Christian and five in a victory over Grovetown.

“Trent’s a heck of a shooter and his feet move really well,” Nix said. “He plays year round. We’re lucky to have him. He’s a big part of our program.”

Tyler Garman added four goals against the Mustangs. Danny Padgett and Bryce Vanderhoek had two goals apiece, and Kyaire Manlove and RJ Chapin had one each.

SEHS avoided a shutout when Bryce Broussard scored midway through the final quarter.