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Lakeside-Evans up next for Effingham County
Keion Wallce
Rebels receiver Keion Wallace celebrates a touchdown grab against Benedectine on Sept. 11 with teammates Zach Garcia (from left), Ashley Thompson and Isaiah Bell. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD — Effingham County’s playbook got a little thinner during its bye week.

“We spent (Sept. 14) fixing a lot,” Rebels head coach Buddy Holder said. “We spent our Sunday meeting X-ing out a lot of stuff that was on our playsheets that we never did. We practiced it a lot but we did it during our first two games so we said, ‘Take it out, take it out, take it out.’ 

“We have self-scouted ourselves.”

After a 49-7 loss to Benedictine on Sept. 11, Effingham County is 1-1. The Rebels topped Grovetown 21-13 in their Sept. 4 opener.

The Rebels’ defense got their first look at what their next opponent — Lakeside-Evans — likes to do during their Sept. 16 practice. The offensive unit started a couple days earlier.

“We’ve played them a few times,” Holder said. “Of course, that’s where I grew up so I’ve tried to keep that connection there.”

Like Grovetown, Lakeside, which trails the series with the Rebels 5-2, is part of the Columbia County School District. Holder attended Evans, another Columbia County school.

“I’ve wanted to keep that connection there,” Holder said. “If we go up there, it gives my parents a chance to possibly come see us because my dad doesn’t move around too good anymore.”

Lakeside is off to an 0-2 start, having lost to Richmond Academy (12-6) and Greenbrier (26-0).

“They run an odd front on defense,” Holder said. “They are a 3-4 structure and play of a lot of different coverages. Offensively, they look a lot like us.

“They do a lot of similar things that we do, which makes our scout team a lot easier to run.”

The Rebels played Benedictine tough in the first half. They trailed just 21-7 at the half despite giving the Cadets a free touchdown on a first-quarter interception return.

Effingham County’s touchdown — a 14-yard pass from Zach Garcia to Keion Wallace — capped a 12-play, 68-yard drive.

Holder said that he expects Khiry Wallace to be able to play against the Panthers. The wide receiver/defensive back injured a knee against Benedectine. He picked off a pass against the Cadets.

“We’ve got several guys who got banged up pretty good,” Holder said. “Khiry’s been our A-1 ball boy this week (between visits with the trainer).”

Holder happily reported that the number of positive COVID-19 tests among students and staffers at his school is down considerably. Close contacts with people with the respiratory ailment have declined, too. 

The Rebels’ practices and game schedule have been changed numerous times because of the pandemic.

“This is about the closest week to normal that we’ve had,” Holder said. “It’s fairly normal.”

The Rebels and Panthers will kick off Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Panther Stadium.