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Rebels finish 'tough' season
Brandon Hicklen
Senior linebacker Brandon Hicklen (9) - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

RINCON —  Effingham County’s difficult football season ended in disappointing fashion Friday night.

Fierce rival Richmond Hill handed the Rebels a 41-0 defeat, leaving them winless in four Region 2-AAAAAA contests. Effingham County, which had beaten the Wildcats five straight times, finished 2-8 overall. 

“It’s kind of tough,” Rebels head coach Buddy Holder said. “I hate to see the (22) seniors go out this way. We wish them the best.

“They fought hard tonight, they didn’t back down and they didn’t quit. They kept fighting, kept fighting and kept fighting.”

The Rebels stood toe to toe with the Wildcats (6-3, 4-0) in a scoreless first quarter that featured three Richmond Hill turnovers. Effingham County didn’t capitalize on any of them, however. Its deepest threat fizzled on downs at the Wildcats 39.

Richmond Hill got rolling early in the second quarter, scoring on two straight possessions that covered 96 and 70 yards. The advances were powered largely by the running of Jalen Rouse and Ashaud Roberson, a former Rebel. 

Effingham County started the second half down just 14-0. That changed when Kenyan Hunter, another former Rebel, intercepted a pass and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown.

The Wildcats scored three touchdowns in the final quarter, including one set up by a punt return to the Rebels 1.

“We put our defense in a couple bad spots down there right on the goal line,” Holder said. “We gave them some really easy scores and that didn’t help our situation.”

The Rebels, who had only four snaps in Richmond Hill territory all night, didn’t get a second-half first down until the closing minute of the game.

“We’ve just got to look at what we’ve got to do to be a little bit better next year and that’s what we’ll do,” Holder said. “We’ve got good kids. They will fight hard and we will come back as strong as we can.”

Holder said most of his players are in the weight room everyday.

“It’s just been a tough season,” he said.