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Football schedule change to impact some hoops teams
Khiry Wallace
Khiry Wallace (right), shown running after a catch in last year’s game against South Effingham, is one of four players who contribute to Effingham County’s football and boys basketball teams. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD — Thanks to COVID-19, high school basketball coaches around the state are wondering what kind of changes might be in store for them and their teams.

With start of football season delayed until Sept. 4, it’s possible there could be dramatic alterations to the basketball schedule. 

“Coaches — we’ve been talking,” Effingham County boys coach Jake Darling said. “We have a group text throughout the state. One of the guys that leads it is in close contact with Ernie Yarbrough, who is the GHSA representative for basketball, and he said as of right now they are not going to push basketball back. They are going to keep the start date as is. 

”They don’t plan on pushing it back but they are going to talk about it each week and, if they feel the need to move it back, they will move it back.”

The biggest issue for basketball coaches having to wait on two-sport athletes to finish football, especially if they make a deep run postseason run on the gridiron. The regular season for high school football will end Nov. 13 with the state title game set Dec. 28.

 In the recent past, Effingham County wouldn’t start Region 2-AAAAAA play in basketball until January. This year, however, thanks to the addition of South Effingham and Statesboro, it begins Dec. 8.

Region records determine the seeding in region tournaments and Darling believes there will be some advocating for a later start.

“I know there will be a lot of schools who will push for it to move back,”he said. “I think the first week of the state (football) playoffs is the weekend before Thanksgiving and that’s the first regular season game for us. Depending on how football does, it may affect us or it may not.

”I think it would be best to push it back. We rely on a lot of football guys — Khiry Wallace, Keion Wallace, Miguel Allen and Timmy Brown. We will definitely miss those guys if there’s an overlap.”

No matter what happens, Darling just wants to be on the hardwood enjoying the game he loves to coach.

“I want to play basketball,” he said. “I want to coach basketball. I want my boys to play basketball.

”Whatever we need to do, we need to do it. We’ve got 25 games on our schedule. We have non-region games and Christmas tournaments, and that is going to mess us all up. 

”No one can predict how football will do. Who knows how far our team goes? Whoever makes it to the playoffs could go all the way. 

”Somebody is going to be affected by it and somebody is not going to be happy.”