SPRINGFIELD — In its last season at the club level, the Effingham County boys lacrosse team left an impressive mark.
The Rebels compiled a 10-5 record and their season came to an end in a semifinal league showdown against Savannah Country Day that resulted in an 8-7 loss.
"First of all, everything was crammed in there with us having spring break the game before," Rebels head coach Kenneth Nix said. "We played against Richmond Hill (in the quarterfinals). We had some struggles but ultimately we finished and one of our seniors scored the goal in overtime to secure the win, so that was exciting.
(Against Savannah Country Day,) we had a pretty close game but we were not able to come out on top. But it set the tone for what we are trying to do next year."
The Rebels competed in the South Carolina Independent Lacrosse League in the South division along with Richmond Hill, Savannah Christian, the Savannah Lacrosse Club and Beaufort, S.C. Several of those teams will not be in their region next year as they transition into the GHSA.
Nix is eager to see how his team will play against new opponents. He hopes the players’ experience will help.
"Toward the end of the year, we had some injuries so we had some kids step up who weren't getting as much time early (in the season)," Nix said. "Through that, they were able to get a little bit more time and they were able to improve, as well as our freshmen. That laid the foundation for them to excel."
The Rebels are eager to jump into GHSA play and continue their success against area teams. Nix, however, is also ready to play unfamiliar squads/
"It's very exciting to get that opportunity," he said. "We may be a quality team in this area but there is always room for improvement. Ultimately, it's bigger than our coastal area."
Nix is especially thankful to those who helped the program reach new heights and paved the way for lacrosse to become a GHSA sport in Effingham County.
Seniors such as Stephen Strickland and Cullen Peel have been two of the Rebels best competitors. The fact that they and other seniors knew they would never win a state title in Georgia made an unforgettable impression on Nix.
"I want to thank them for coming out," Nix said. "Most of them were freshmen. We even had one come out as a junior and it's tough to start something new. We are going to miss them desperately.
“Fortunately, they didn't just care about their stats. They are team-oriented guys and that has helped those around them. Going forward, they have left a good group and good foundation for this team to grow and become a GHSA sport.
“ hate they don't get to see that but they get to have some satisfaction knowing they were the group that started this four years ago."