By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
SAVANNAH — Six years ago, Owen Nix helped form a club lacrosse team with high school players from Effingham County and South Effingham.
Thursday night, he stood on the sidelines of Calvary Day’s Specialty Sports Complex with a sense of pride, watching the sport he loves mature, as he worked as an assistant at the area’s first all-star lacrosse game.
A collection of local players — eight from the Effingham County area — participated in a game that pitched the efforts of the Savannah Metro Area Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“We’re just excited to have this event,” Nix said. “It’s a lot of fun for the kids and it’s growing the game and spreading the word.”
The two all-star teams — the Blue and White — were formed from Area 8, Class 1-5A high school players. Effingham County’s Cooper Nease, Danny Padgett, Trent Morgan, Hayden Spilliards, Drake Wilson and Nick Silva-Brown played on the Blue team with athletes from Richmond Hill, Islands and Savannah Christian.
South Effingham’s Devin Formond and ECHS’ Luke Starling played on the White team, which also featured players from Benedictine, Savannah Country Day and Calvary.
On the humid night, the White team scored eight straight goals during the second and third quarters to pull away, 13-7.
Nix said Chad Sessions, Effingham County Recreation and Park’s athletics coordinator, was instrumental in the game’s creation.
Sessions knew FCA officials and approached local lacrosse coaches with the idea of playing an all-star game about two months ago, Nix said.
“(Sessions) did a lot of the leg work and when he came to the coaches with the idea of having an all-star game, I think all the coaches were, ‘yeah, anything to get the sport out there.’ ” Nix said.
Nix coached the Effingham Eagles club team, a group of ECHS and SEHS players, for four seasons. In the spring of 2020, both schools fielded lacrosse teams competing in the Georgia High School Association.
Nix and the Rebels continued their progression in the sport with a fourth-place finish in Area 8 and their first advancement to the state tournament.
The postseason all-star game gave local players another opportunity to shine.
Silva-Brown, a junior goalie, registered five saves while playing the final two quarters.
Spilliards, the Rebels’ lone senior in the game, had a chance to play for a final time after missing most of the second half of the season because of an injury.
Padgett, a midfielder, had the final goal of the game for the Blue team.
“Honestly, it’s a pretty good feeling to know you’re one of the few chosen to play in this game,” said Padgett, who will be a senior next season. “It felt good to score and contribute something to the team.”