By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
GUYTON — Spring football gets underway this week for South Effingham and Effingham County.
Under Georgia High School Association rules, football teams are allowed 10 practices within 13 school days.
ECHS and its first-year head coach, John Ford, will begin their workouts Thursday.
SEHS head coach Nathan Clark will have his incoming freshmen start workouts today with rising sophomores, juniors and seniors taking the field for their first work Friday.
Both teams will finish May 21. The Rebels have scheduled a game with Wayne County in Jesup to wrap up the spring. The Mustangs will play an intrasquad game.
“Our goal this spring is to find out who the best players are, who are the guys who realistically are going to play meaningful reps,” Clark said. “And we want to see who’s tough. We’re going to make it challenging and see what they have deep down.”
Both teams have work ahead. The Rebels won only three games last year and the Mustangs won only one. Both failed to make the Class AAAAAA state football playoffs.
ECHS opens its football season Aug. 27 at home against Beaufort, S.C. SEHS is on the road against Metter.
Here are the dates for spring football practices: South Effingham — today (freshmen only), Thursday (freshmen only) Friday (10th-12th graders only), Monday (10th-12th graders only), Tuesday (10th-12th graders only), May 12 (freshmen only); full team final seven practices — May 13-14 and May 17-21 (intrasquad game). Effingham County — Thursday, Friday, Monday, Tuesday, May 13-14 and May 17-21 (at Wayne County).
SEHS boys soccer
South Effingham boys soccer coach DaKota Paradice said his team pressured Valdosta with about 20 shots but just couldn’t find the back of the net in a 1-0 loss to the Wildcats in the second round of the Class AAAAAA state tournament.
“They scored off a set piece early but we dominated the rest of the way,” Paradice said. “We didn’t go out with anything to be ashamed of.”
The Mustangs, a No. 3 seed from Region 2, had a six-game winning streak snapped and finished the season with a 13-7 record.
Top four finishers in each event at the Region 2-AAAAAA Track and Field Championship (held April 21) from South Effingham and Effingham County will be back in action Saturday at the GHSA 2021 Track and Field Class AAAAAA Sectional (A) at Johns Creek High School.
The Mustang and Rebel qualifiers will compete against other top-four finishers from Region 1, 2, 7 and 8. The top eight from Sectional (A) then meet with the top eight from Sectional (B) to form the qualifiers for the Class AAAAAA state championship in Carrollton on May 13-15.
Locals to watch are ECHS’ long-distance runner Candace Kieffer and South Effingham’s triple jumper Cameron Edwards.
According to rankings compiled by Athletic.net, Kieffer’s region-winning time of 5:14.69 in the 1600 is within two seconds of the best times turned in by Region 7 girls.
Edwards, who won the region with a triple jump of 43-9, is within four inches of the best jump turned in by athletes competing at Sectionals.