Sept. 4 — Grovetown, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 — Benedictine, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 — @ Lakeside-Evans, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 — Howard Macon, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 9 — South Effingham*, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23 — Richmond Hill*, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30 — at Glynn Academy, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 6 — Bradwell Institute*, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 13 — @ Statesboro*, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 20 — @ Glynn Academy*, 7:30 p.m.
* — 2-AAAAAA game
SPRINGFIELD — The Effingham County football team is turning over a new leaf. Its goal is simple — to have a winning season.
After a disappointing 2-8 finish a year ago, what’s crucial for the Rebels is establishing themselves on both sides of the ball. While averaging 22 points a game last season, they allowed seven opponents to score 31 points or more.
One of the biggest challenges for Effingham County will be newly aligned Region 2-AAAAAA. The Rebels went winless in region play last season and the addition of South Effingham and Statesboro will make it that much tougher to make their presence felt in their region.
Zach Garcia maintains his starting position at quarterback. One highlight of his game is his ability to limit turnovers. He threw just two interceptions a year ago and finished the season with 913 passing yards and 10 touchdowns.
The biggest hole to fill will be at wide receiver because go-to-guy Randy Scott graduated.
“I don’t know that you can replace a guy like Randy Scott,” Rebels head coach Buddy Holder said. “A guy that is able to go and play at Savannah State — the acceleration that he had. What Randy helped us instill in a lot of these younger kids was they saw how hard he worked and how he competed at practice.
“Khiry Wallace is very explosive and has great hands. We have a lot of guys now that hopefully have close to what Randy can do.”
The Rebels have nearly a dozen seniors, but it could be the underclassmen that make up a good portion of their production. Keion Wallace, Cameron Roper and Ashley Thompson make up a trio of guys who look to score big points. Khiry Wallace, Spencer Jeffers, Ryan Phillips, Grant Heller and Dawson Stone will be key contributors as well.
“We are balanced with experience and lack of experience,” Holder said. “We are trying to fill holes on both sides of the ball.”
Regarding Roper, Holder sees the potential in his game.
“Both of his brothers played for us,” Holder said. “We see a lot of promise in him.”
Desmond House, who was the team’s feature back, transferred to South Effingham, leaving the Rebels without an experienced backfield.
“Right now, we have two of them that have shown a lot of promise for us in Devon Swinney and Josh Thrift,” Holder said. “They give us a chance to have multiple guys that are back there.”
The Rebels will kick off the season Sept. 4 at home against Grovetown. The schedule has been in flux for several weeks because of COVID-19.