By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
GUYTON — South Effingham football coach Nathan Clark divided his squad into two equal groups and saw little difference when only one team found a way to the end zone during Friday night’s Silver-White Game.
But Clark said the film from the intrasquad contest will provide a variety of aspects to work on for upcoming summer practices.
Some things may seem small.
“One thing we always like to watch is the sideline,” Clark said. “Do we have kids with their helmets off? Are kids going back to (the stands) to talk to their parents or friends? We don’t do that and now we can address it. During the season you don’t want to fool with that.”
Clark doesn’t want to leave any stone unturned after being rocked by 1-9 and 2-8 seasons the last two years. Injuries, COVID-19 and a tough schedule coupled with inexperience were undeniable culprits.
Now the team is healthy and the coronavirus is less of a problem. Metter, Appling County and Benedictine (teams that went a combined 38-5 in 2021) are gone from the 2022 schedule. And the Mustangs are a year older.
A fresh start for the 2022 season began with these 10 spring practices. SEHS has 123 athletes in its football program after whittling down a group of 149.
Clark said he liked the physicality his players displayed Friday night. The game was ragged at times, but that was to be expected when teams are divided evenly.
“We’re trying to emphasize that we want you to compete at everything you do,” Clark said. “(The spring) is a competition period and we didn’t build up the spring game as anything different.”
Competition at quarterback between Kaden De Genaro and Aubrey Heath will carry into the summer.
Sophomore quarterback Lawton Bowen scored the lone touchdown on a 40-yard naked bootleg, but the projected starter could come from De Genaro-Heath battle.
“They both did a lot of good things, but there’s still a lot to work on,” Clark said. “Both have shown a tremendous amount of progress since last year. It’s going to be a battle. Right now, they’re 1A and 1B.”
Clark said running backs Rakeam Williams, Jamari Fields, Justin Martell, Ashton Troutman, Robert Clark and Jah’Tavion Weickerson played well during the spring.
Clark has seen improvement from offensive linemen Mason Anderson, CJ Lord and Ashton Anderson and defensive linemen Matt Moore, Taylor Hughes, Weickerson and Damyon McFarlin.
Williams, William Christmas and Jeremiah Washington head an improved linebacking group. Tyrik Guyton, Dominic Martell, Justin Martell and Jaden Sanders have experience in the secondary.
“We’re very excited,” Clark said. “Right now, we have some depth which we haven’t had since I’ve been here.”
Friday night at the Corral began with a 30-minute intrasquad scrimmage for South Effingham Middle School.
Saturday, Clark and the Mustangs conducted a youth football camp for pre-kindergarten through seventh-grade players.
This week, SEHS will be off for finals before observing the GHSA’s dead period during the week of Memorial Day (May 30-June 6).
The Mustangs kick off the 2022 season on the road at Vidalia on Aug. 19.