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Local players set for Blitz Border Bowl
Matthew Ford
Rebels quarterback Matthew Ford (11) sets to launch a pass during a 2021 playoff game against Westlake in Atlanta. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald

SPRINGFIELD — While getting ready for the baseball season, Effingham County quarterback Matthew Ford saves some time to throw footballs.

Ford, along with Rebels teammate running back Miquel Allen and South Effingham’s running back Cameron Edwards and offensive lineman/long snapper Peyton Beasley, will represent the county at the Blitz Border Bowl, an all-star football game pitting top prep players from the Coastal Empire against players from the Lowcountry on Saturday.

The game kicks off at noon from Memorial Stadium in Savannah and will be televised by WSAV.

“I just want to get some extra work,” Ford said. “I’m going out there to have some fun with kids in our neighborhood. It gives me a chance to play one more time in high school and hopefully some colleges are watching.”

Ford, a 6-foot-2, 215-pounder, had a banner season for the Rebels in his lone year as a starting quarterback. Ford, who earned All-Region 2-AAAAAA honors, flourished in first-year head coach John Ford’s short passing attack while throwing for 1,429 yards.

John Ford will be the Coastal Empire’s quarterbacks coach, possibly having some input on playing calling. Matthew Ford is one of three quarterbacks on the team roster.

“I guess he might be able to tell (the offensive coordinator) what I do best,” Matthew Ford said. “I’d like to show I can throw the deep ball but we’ll take whatever the defense gives us.”

Ford has football offers from Division II Newberry College and Division IIIs St. Norbert College (located in De Pere, Wisc.), Defiance College (Defiance, Ohio) and Brevard College (Brevard, N.C.).

Ford, a first baseman/pitcher on the Rebels baseball team, also has a baseball offer from East Georgia.

Over the years, the Blitz Border Bowl has been a showcase for county players. ECHS running back Toot Johnson ran for 105 yards and a touchdown to earn MVP honors in the inaugural game in 2018.

That same year, South’s defensive end Makenly Newbill, now at Savannah State University, registered 2 ½ tackles for losses in the bowl game then returned to Guyton to play in a Mustangs’ basketball game later that night.

Two years ago, ECHS’ Randy Scott and SEHS’ Noah Hoang scored touchdowns for the Coastal Empire.

“It’s a big honor to be one of the few selected from the 912 area and show what Effingham brings to the table every year,” Ford said.