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Rebels sticking together amid losses
Dawson Stone
Effingham County’s Tyler Wells (25) receives a pat on the head from teammate Dawson Stone after intercepting a second-quarter pass Friday night. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD — Some of the victories Effingham County head coach Buddy Holder is looking for aren’t reflected on the scoreboard.

“We’re learning on the run,” Holder said after the Rebels dropped a 35-10 decision against Glynn Academy Friday night. “These kids never quit. Their body language didn’t change. Their hustle didn’t change. Their ‘cheer for’ each other didn’t change.”

The home Region 2-AAAAAA setback knocked the Rebels (2-7, 0-3) out of playoff contention. 

“When you get in a situation like we are and those kids’ spirts are staying high for each other, that’s important,” Holder said. “That’s good culture and that’s good for those kids to be teammates like that. I was really, really proud of that.”

Holder and his staff have given a lot of players extensive game action in recent weeks.

“Some of them are young guys and they are showing us some things they can do,” Holder said. “We had a JV game out here (Thursday) that a lot of those guys played in and they fared real well against Screven County (in a 30-8 win). We are proud of them and they are getting a chance here.

“We have a lot of inexperience that started the year and the thing that gets me is that they didn’t change their spirits, their hustle, their effort or their desire. We keep telling them to be there for each other and make each other feel good — make an impact on each other. That’s what you are going to remember — how you make each other feel.”

Effingham County got off to a difficult start Friday as it took the Terrors (4-4, 2-1) just 62 seconds to move in front. They were boosted by a kickoff return across midfield and a 38-yard run by Nolan  Grant before quarterback  TJ Lewis scored on a 1-yard plunge on the third snap.

Another long run, a 49-yarder by Jayden Drayton, set up Glynn Academy’s second touchdown, a 25-yard romp by Grant.

The Rebels started having some offensive success late in the opening period. They advanced 47 yards to the Terrors 33 before a fourth-and-five pass by Zach Garcia fell incomplete on the initial play of the second period.

The Terrors capitalized on the missed opportunity by marching 77 yards in seven plays for a touchdown. The drive featured a 39-yard run by Cayden Hutchinson. The run came a couple plays before Lewis notched his second one-yard scoring run.

The Rebels were in danger of falling behind 28-0 when Tyler Wells stopped a drive deep into their territory with an interception. The sideline pick set the stage for a 29-yard field goal by Zach Thomas that cut the gap with 21-3 with 2:09 left before halftime.

Glynn Academy quickly quelled the momentum generated by Wells’ play by scoring again 90 seconds later. Lewis recorded two of his four pass completions during the scoring drive that ended with a 12-yard run by Grant.

Neither team scored in the third quarter but Effingham County got on the board in the final stanza. Its 45-yard touchdown drive, set up by a fumbled punt, featured a 13-yard fourth-and-10 completion to Khiry Wallace. Keion Wallace tallied the score a couple plays later with a 19-yard grab.

Glynn Academy answered quickly again, however, getting a 19-yard touchdown run from Hutchinson that accounted for the final margin.

The Terrors finished 390 rushing yards Drayton and Grant each exceeded the century mark and Hutchinson added 69.

The Rebels, set to conclude their season at home Friday versus region champion Richmond Hill (5-3, 3-0), amassed 204 total yards. Its best play was a 44-yard sweep around the left end by receiver Khiry Wallace.

Garcia passed for 110 yards.

Jakobe Gadsden
Rebels running back Jakobe Gadsden (5) races past the Terrors’ James Dyal (96) during Friday’s game at Rebel Field. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff