BRUNSWICK — Football triumphs aren’t always measured in points. Sometimes they are determined by hugs, handshakes, memories and tears.
Effingham County head coach Buddy Holder ended up a big winner in the second category Friday night even though the scoreboard at Glynn County Stadium reflected a 49-0 loss to the Brunswick Pirates in his final game in charge of the Rebels.
Holder announced a couple weeks ago that he is stepping down after seven years as head coach in favor of another position in the Effingham County School District. The 2020 team posted a 3-7 mark, leaving him with a 43-42 mark. His .506 winning percentage is 24 points higher than Effingham County’s as a whole since 1960.
“Buddy Holder will truly be missed at ECHS,” Principal Amie Dickerson said. “I know he is excited about his new opportunity with the Effingham County School District and will do a great job. He has made a difference in many students’ lives and we are so proud he will always be a Rebel.”
Holder wasn’t thinking about himself after the game.
“The seniors, when they leave, it is always very, very emotional,” he said. “We have a very good group of seniors. They are part of this group that has no bad apples in it and they have done a great job as leaders.
“They are tremendous kids with tremendous families, and they will be great at what they do when they get out of here and go to college or do whatever it is they decide to do. Those are the things that I think about as a coach because I think that is what it’s all about.”
Holder exposed his thoughts during halftime when the Rebels were trailing 28-0.
“I don’t know a whole lot about geography,” he said. “My mother was an English teacher and I don’t remember English, either. I told the players I couldn’t diagram a sentence. I told them that I used to get paddled because I couldn’t diagram a sentence.
“I remember the way that paddle felt but I don’t remember anything about diagrams. However, I do remember the people that made me feel good. Let’s go out there and make each other feel good. Let’s cheer for each other. Let’s celebrate any success we have.
“They went out and they did that.”
Holder’s final postgame huddle was teeming with emotion. Several players wept during his remarks.
“They deserve a good, fresh start, a lot of success and I am pulling for them — in every sport and every endeavor they do,” Holder said.
Holder is anticipating a fresh start, too. It will feature more free time.
“This is something we’ve talked about for a long time — things where I could get myself in position where I can watch (daughter) Lynnsey play tennis for the next three years and be able to do some things at home,” he said. “My yard will probably look a lot nicer now. If you look in my truck, I have rakes, posthole diggers — all kinds of stuff — and none of it gets used at my house. It all gets used at the practice (football field).
“Now I can empty the back of my truck and even it will look cleaner.”