By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
South Effingham’s outstanding dual wrestling season came to an end Saturday after a loss to defending Class AAAAAA state champion Buford at the state prelims.
The Mustangs, the second-seeded team from Region 2, defeated Lakeside, DeKalb 84-0 in their first match in the four-team bracket but fell to the Wolves 66-6 for the opportunity to go to the state Elite Eight at Brunswick this Saturday.
SEHS finished its dual season with a 35-3 record. All three setbacks — to Richmond Hill, Brunswick and Buford — came against teams that advanced to Brunswick.
“It was a dark weekend for us because we might have won any other bracket,” Mustangs coach Christopher Bringer said. “We beat Richmond Hill twice and Alexander, but they advanced so I think that was hard for our kids to see. … We’ll just try to use this as motivation for traditionals.”
Against Lakeside, SEHS registered eight pins and took advantage of six forfeits to score the maximum number of points in a match.
Ashton Anderson, at 285, was the lone Mustang winner against Buford. Bringer said Jaylen Hosking (145) and Gavin Anderson (182) also wrestled well despite losing.
Wrestlers now focus on the traditional (individual) season. Region will be held Jan. 28 at Brunswick. Sectionals will be held at Brunswick as well.
The state championships will be held Feb. 10-12 in Macon.
Locals compete at all-star game
Several South Effingham and Effingham County seniors competed in the Blitz Border Bowl — an all-star football game featuring invited players from the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry on Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Savannah.
SEHS running back Cameron Edwards, the Region 2-AAAAAA Offensive Player of the Year, carried nine times for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Helping to open holes was Mustangs teammate Peyton Beasley at center.
ECHS quarterback Matthew Ford started for the Coastal Empire and directed a scoring drive on the first possession. Ford completed 10 of 17 passes for 63 yards.
Rebels teammate Miquel Allen had six carries for 22 yards and caught a pass for six yards. Effingham County center Rett Heller was a Georgia blocker.
ECHS coach John Ford was the quarterbacks coach for the Coastal Empire.
Edwards’ early 2-yard TD run gave the Coastal Empire a 7-0 lead, but the Lowcountry fought back with two third-quarter touchdowns to win 14-13.
SEHS ranked No. 5 in preseason poll
South Effingham’s baseball team was ranked fifth in Class AAAAAA to start the season, according to a top-10 poll conducted by The Coaches Box Georgia, an Internet site promoting high school baseball statewide.
The Mustangs (27-11 last season) won Region 2 and advanced to the Elite Eight of the state tournament before losing to Pope two games to one in a best-of-three series.
SEHS opens its 2022 season Feb. 15 at home against Savannah Country Day.