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Mustangs trot to another turnover-free win
Rocko Griffin
South Effingham’s Rocko Griffin (24) breaks loose for some of his 128 yards during Friday’s homecoming game against Tattnall County. - photo by Photo by Birk Herrath

GUYTON — The South Effingham football team bounced back from its first loss with a 49-14 homecoming win against Tattnall County on Friday.

The Mustangs upped their record to to 5-1 by distributing the ball evenly among a bevy of playmakers. Rocko Griffin led the attack with 128 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Cam Edwards followed with 89 rushing yards and one touchdown. 

“Offensively I think we ran the ball well,” Mustangs head coach Nathan Clark said. “We didn’t do that last week. And then we had explosive plays. I thought the quarterback did a good job on his zone reads. He struggled on his reads in the run game where he pulled a lot when he wasn’t supposed to and tonight, every single time, I thought he made the right decision.

I’m really proud of that.”

One of the key factors to South Effingham’s success has been zero turnovers. Clark and his staff made it a point to stress the significance of ball security and ensuring every pass is delivered to its intended target.

Quarterback Taylor Jackson threw for 129 yards and two scores.

“That’s six games in a row (with a turnover),” Clark said. “I don’t why we are getting so lucky. Actually, fortunate is the word.

“The difference in the football game to me is explosive games offensively and defensively and turnovers. Most of the time, if you win those battles, you’ll win the game.”

The Mustangs, coming off a 42-28 defeat at Pierce County, wanted to avoid consecutive losses. Clark believes after suffering as a team for so long — it won four of its previous 32 games heading into the season, the squad is adamant about winning.

“We have an extremely resilient football team,” Clark said. “It starts with the seniors. They want to be good. This is a good group of boys that work hard. I think they’ve been beat down before and they made up their mind that this is not going to happen again.

“Even in times when they get in tough situations, they keep fighting.”

The Mustangs will need a strong effort in Region 2-AAAAA play to make it to the playoffs. Region play starts Saturday against New Hampstead at noon in Pooler.

The Phoenix have a standout offensive weapon in wideout Sam Brown. The Central Florida commit has excelled as a three-sport athlete and his success in the long jump has given him the ability to go up and get the football. He finished as the runner-up in the state track and field meet this past spring. 

The Mustangs will also have to respect Justin McKithen, another 3-star prospect committed to Florida Atlantic.

“I’ve kept my eye on them a little bit,” Clark said. “I know they have a new coach (Kyle Hockman) that came from McEachern and he had a lot of success. I will find out a lot more about them. 

“I know they are extremely athletic.”

The Mustangs are still a work in progress, Clark said. 

“There are a few things we have to fix,” he explained. “Offensively, we had some drops tonight and we lined up in an illegal formation, but we are headed in the right direction and I am happy with the way they played tonight.”