JEKYLL ISLAND — The Evans Knights owned a big fourth-quarter lead and were about to turn out the lights when Effingham County let them know that the season-opening party wasn’t over Friday night.
Effingham County scored two touchdowns in a 66-second span late in the final period to push the Knights to the limit before falling 18-15. The Rebels posted their second touchdown with 3:32 to go and got the ball back with a chance to take the lead with 55 seconds left.
On their final possession deep in their own territory, however, the Rebels tossed three incomplete passes before surrendering a fourth-down sack as the clock wound down.
Effingham County head coach Buddy Holder was pleased that his team continued to battle after Evans tallied what looked to be the decisive blow on JoeFranStar Graham’s 6-yard touchdown run with 6:40 remaining. The score was set up by an Effingham County fumble at the Knights’ 38.
“We put together a pretty good fourth quarter,” Holder said. “I’m proud of their resiliency.”
The Rebels answered Evans’ last score with a 56-yard touchdown drive. They covered the distance in seven plays. The final one was a nine-yard toss from Zach Garcia to D’Andre Johnson with 4:48 left.
Effingham County recovered the ensuing onside kick by Zach Thomas. It set up a 19-yard Garcia-to-Keion Wallace touchdown pass.
Evans got its first two touchdowns on passes of 29 and 27 yards in the second quarter. The second one came on a trick play as receiver Lleyton Lackey threw to ball to running back Caleb Jackson after taking an option pitch.
“They made two big plays and we made mistakes on them,” Holder said. “It’s things that we work on everyday and we have to get better and get more consistent with it.”
The Rebels tallied 267 total yards. Johnson rushed for 49 and Garcia passed for 112.
Effingham County will host Groves on Friday at 7:30 p.m.