GUYTON -- South Effingham head coach Nathan Clark told his team Friday night that it was time to be the bully.
It responded in a way.
Clark’s Mustangs pulled off a thrilling upset over Class AAA No. 8 Jenkins, winning 29-26 in overtime win. Liam Rickman sealed the contest with a 24-yard field goal.
Rickman said he had a good feeling going into the game, especially after the performance South Effingham had against Long County. The Mustangs set a school record for points in their 62-27 rout of the Blue Tide.
"I knew by the we put up so many points against Long County we could do it," Rickman said. "I had no doubt in my mind. I knew it was going to be a tough battle.
“We just had to execute."
Jenkins turned the ball over in overtime and Rickman took advantage. The home stands erupted in celebration as his kick went through the uprights.
Clark was moved by the spirit of elation that swept through the stadium.
“It’s not about me,” he first-year head coach said. “It’s about the community. I am so happy for the players, students, coaches. The crowd was unbelievable and they kept us in the game with all of the energy and positive morale.”
The Mustangs, 2-0 for the first time since 2015, jumped on the board first with a short field goal but Jenkins posted successive touchdowns to take a 13-3 lead.
South Effingham’s Noah Hoang answered with a touchdown to trim the deficit to 13-10. Then the two teams traded blows until the fourth quarter.
Standout Mustangs running back and Vanderbilt commit Rocko Griffin punched in a short touchdown run to tie the game at 26 with less than 30 seconds left in the fourth period.
South Effingham capitalized on the blunders Jenkins made. The Warriors were hampered by penalties
"There's no doubt about it that they didn't give up and they didn't quit," Clark said. "Jenkins is a really good team, they have a good coach and they are going to rebound."
Clark reminded his senior-laden team that it has the talent and leadership to persevere.
"When I talked to them before the game, I told them they need to be the bully," Clark said. "We don't need to be bullied. It's time for things to switch. You are good guys and you are a bunch of winners.
“We are executing well and creating turnovers but we are not where we need to be, but we are headed in the right direction.”
Taylor Jackson played another solid game, throwing for 160 yards all while battling through a few big hits.
"He's a ball player and he makes plays when the ball is in his hand," Clark said. "I wouldn't trade him for anybody."
Jackson is greatly enjoying his team’s newfound success.
"Like I told everybody else, we have to stay confident,” he said. “I had a few mistakes here and there but, all in all, I feel like I did my job. It’s crazy. I’ve been the quarterback for three years and it’s incredible.
I am going to keep my foot on the gas and keep going.”