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Linebackers leading Mustangs' charge
With linebackers coach Nick Smith observing, South Effingham's Hunter Tindall performs during a preseason agility drill. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
They are relentless.
South Effingham linebackers coach Nick Smith

GUYTON — Josh Duncan and Hunter Tindall are leaving nothing to chance.

The linebackers for the South Effingham football team are doing everything they can to change the face of the Mustangs’ defense. There is a new attitude this season within the unit. It is evident in the way they speak and the way they play.

“They are relentless,” linebackers coach Nick Smith said. “They get downhill in a hurry and make good reads. They do they a good job anticipating the play before it actually comes. They really run to the football.”

But this newfound boldness didn’t happen overnight. Tindall admitted that they were looking for answers after losing nine starters on defense.

“It was definitely questionable because all of our seniors were gone,” Tindall said. “We’ve got new kids coming up who never had playing time.”

Duncan and Tindall said it was imperative he bring his A-game to secure one of the 11coveted spots.

“I feel like everybody did their part and performed in practice to earn their starting position,” Duncan said.

“It definitely made me step, work harder every play, never loaf or anything like that,” Tindall said.

And although they are still working out the kinks, there are two guys in the middle of the field that bring the much-needed hustle and grit.

“I wanted to put my best foot forward in practice, make sure I’ve got the starting position and make the team better,” Duncan said.

Duncan and Tindall have recorded nearly a dozen tackles or more in each of the 1-1 Mustangs’ games and Smith said their energetic way of play flows throughout the team.

“Both of them play a lot alike,” Smith said. “They also do a really good job preparing themselves each week. They ask a lot of questions. They relay everything from the coaches to the rest of the defense. The other guys feed off how hard they play. They are relentless to the pursuit of the ball and they have fun doing it.

“It’s fun to watch them play for sure.”

The Mustangs will take on rival Effingham County (2-1) in Springfield on Friday. 

Duncan sees the game as an opportunity to put away a team that has had South Effingham’s number the last two seasons. 

“It does put a little more pressure on everybody because it is our rival and we do want to win but we still have to keep a level head,” Duncan said.

Tindall, meanwhile, is approaching it as just another game.

“Just because they are our rivals doesn’t mean anything to me,” said Tindall. “They put their pads on just like me.”

Tindall, who aims for double digit tackles in every game, also has his sights set on scoring too. Against Jenkins, Tindall recorded a fumble recovery and returned it for a touchdown.

Tindall said once he saw the football on the ground, it was his for the taking.

“My outside linebacker forced the fumble and I jumped over him, picked it up and ran,” Tindall said.

Last season, the Mustangs gave up an average of 31 points per game but Duncan believes they can turn things around if they continue to play together.

“[We] all [have] to play like a team, do our responsibilities and perform our very best,” he said.