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Parents, businesses pull weight for Mustangs
Richard Hall
Sophomore defensive lineman Richard Hall participates in the tire flip during Saturday’s Lift-a-thon Combine at South Effingham. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

Lift-a-thon Sponsors

Platinum — D1 Apparel, E3 Environmental, Peachy T’s, WW Drayage LLC, Atlantic Waste Services, Savannah Construction & Preservation, Mock Plumbing & Mechanical Inc., Chambless Counseling, Cowan Intermodal Group, Tee Wheels, All Facilities Lighting & Electric, Pope’s Landscape Services LLC, Pestmaster Services, Harold’s Auto Paint & Body, UGMS Contracting Inc.  

Gold — Southern Atlantic Mechanical Co., Gordon’s Heating & Air, Dr. Lynn’s Family Practice PC, Jan Pro Cleaning & Disinfecting, Kermit Auto Detailing, The Tin Fin, Freedom Express LLC, Pioneer Rubber & Gasket, Amy’s Vintage Barber Shop, Apex Roofing of the Lowcountry, Potter Construction, Higgins Place Restaurant, Tru-Steam Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Building Strong Futures, Savannah Rubber & Conveyor, All American Hunting Hounds, iHeart Dental, Atlantic Maintenance, Corporate Workplace Services, Diamond Concrete Products, Alice Hurst Next Move Real Estate, Effingham Printing & Copy Center, Anderson Crew Home Washing, K&C Landscaping, Station Exchange Senior Care 

Silver — Granite Man, Sharon’s Tiny Toddlers, Lovezolla’s Pizza, Southeast Gutters, Pine Street Crossfit, Saintval Trucking, Effingham Furniture Inc., Walsh-Clark, Follower Films, Mental Health Alert Wristbands Inc., Anytime Fitness (Rincon), Bell & Sons Designs Inc., Country Financial, Ron Wake, South Fork Provisions LLC, New Youth, Lakeview Manor, Country Financial, Jerry Bogus Agency, 21 Rentals, Ashe Bookkeeping LLC, Woods Seafood, Meraki Family Hair Salon, Hunter’s Transmission & Auto Sales, Pooler Tire, Gordon’s Pharmacy, Thomas Strickland & Sons Funeral Home, Mimi’s Rest & Retreat, K&B Trailer Sales, Marsh Construction, Sunil Food Mart, Kirby Services, Freight Roots USA, Cary Transport, Blair Rental LLC, Circle K, Bloom Nutrition of Springfield, Raving B’s Bakery, Hofman IT Security, B&P Painting, Total Service Heating & Air, Bailey Financial Group, B Renewed, Riverside Enterprises, Jillianne Banks (independent beauty consultant, Mary Kaye), Johnnie & Sonia Holmes, Iprovidefitness, Salt Creek Markethouse, Sexton Hall Funeral Home, Abercorn Insurance, Action Insulation Co. Inc., Superior Distribution, Brooks Roofing, A’Lexis Czachowski Hair, Huggins Waste Services, Aiken-Harper Electrical Services, Cuts-N-Styles, Georgia Bombers, Keller Interiors.

GUYTON — South Effingham’s football program features numerous valuable performers who will never get on the field to play.

Through its participation in a fundraising event known as the Lift-a-thon, a multitude of parents and businesses recently generated more than $20,000 that will help the team in a variety of ways this season.

 “This money will pretty much do everything that we need,” Mustangs head coach Nathan Clark said Saturday. “It’ll buy pregame meals, helmets, shoulder pads, practice gear, any sort of apparel that is needed, mouthpieces — everything.”

At the start of the summer, the players’ parents were challenged to find team sponsors whose names would be featured on a widely distributed t-shirt. Platinum, gold and silver sponsorships cost $500, $300 and $100, respectively.

“The parents did an amazing job of raising money,” Clark said while holding up one of the t-shirts that features the team’s familiar cardinal and silver. “We got about 15 platinum level sponsors, more than 20 gold level and probably over 30 at the silver level.”

The parents were rewarded for their efforts by earning t-shirts, hats and the chance to win gift cards through drawings. 

 “I’m really, really pleased with what they accomplished,” Clark said. “Then we challenged the players to match or beat (their $20,000).”

The players collected pledges for their performances in Saturday’s Lift-a-thon Combine. They earned points while being put through their paces in the bench press, 40-yard dash, vertical jump, medicine ball toss, pro shuttle and tire flip.

“Let’s say a player collected 900 points,” Clark said. “They may have asked their grandmother, grandfather, somebody at church or somebody else they know to sponsor them for maybe two cents per point. With 900 points, that would be $18.

“With four or five people sponsoring them, that money really adds up. Of course, people could just make flat donations if they wanted to not based on points.”

Event winners included Louis Hicks (330-pound bench press), Jamari Fields (4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash), Cameron Edwards (medicine ball toss of 32 feet) and 16.26 seconds in the tire flip) and Justin Martell (4.12 seconds in the pro shuttle). Martell, Justice Mydell and Joell Laldee tied in the vertical jump at 35 inches.

Edwards, a senior, was the overall points champion with 1,310. Leaders of the other classes were junior Jamari Fields (1,230), sophomore Dominic Martell (1,080) and freshman Cole Hoffman (930).

Clark, set to start his third season at the helm of the Mustangs, said the Lift-a-thon has been a South Effingham staple for several years.

“We’ve added our own twist and wrinkle but are continuing what they laid the foundation for because it has always been a big moneymaker and it really helps the team,” he said. “If the parents are able to match the parents, will will raise close to $40,000 or $50,000. That would be phenomenal.”

South Effingham suffered a major financial hit last year because COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the Lift-a-thon Combine.

“Last year, we bought new cardinal jerseys and white game pants, and we were pretty much out of money,” Clark said. “This year is really important — being able to get us back to where we are comfortable again and financially stable. We will be able to make some progress to maybe buying some new field equipment and things that are needed.

“There are a lot of little things and it takes a lot of money to get them.”

The South Effingham bass fishing team recently benefited from Lift-a-thon funds. A trailer decorated with the school logo is used for storage and refreshment at its tournaments. It is also used at football games for apparel and concession sales.