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South athletes celebrate college announcement together
South Effingham signing
Joey Burdick (University of South Carolina-Aiken), Cameron Edwards (Savannah State University), Louis Hicks (Missouri Valley College), Nick Milbrandt (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College), Joell Laldee (Newberry College), Broderick Corley (Trinity Baptist College) and Peyton Beasley (LaGrange College) pose for a photo after signing their national letters of intent May 23 in the South Effingham auditorium. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald

GUYTON – Athletic accomplishments brought seven South Effingham student-athletes together for a celebration May 23. It won’t be long before they’re headed in different directions.

So it was a time for Mustangs coaches to replay their players’ legacies, a time for athletes to reciprocate appreciation.

A time to share special moments.

“I love everyone in this room,” said Cameron Edwards, hoping not to miss anyone who played a role in his unique journey.

Edwards, a two-time state champion in the triple jump and star running back on the football team, will be playing football and running track at Savannah State University in the fall.

Edwards’ teammates Peyton Beasley (LaGrange College), Louis Hicks (Missouri Valley College) and Joell Laldee (Newberry College) also signed to play football at the next level.

Joey Burdick signed to run cross country at the University of South Carolina-Aiken. Broderick Corley headed to Trinity Baptist College for soccer and Nick “Tiny” Milbrandt signed to play baseball at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

They’ll each enter college with amazing athletic credentials after starring at SEHS.

But the takeaway of the day might have been the stuff you didn’t know outside the playing fields. Assistant running coach Brandon Howard talked about distinctive laughs on the cross country team and Burdick’s laugh ranked among the top three.

“You can hear them from the front of the bus to the back of the bus, across the field and whenever you hear it, it makes you smile,” Howard said. “It will be a lot quieter now, in a bad way.”

Baseball coach Todd Eubanks gave insights on Milbrandt’s work and interaction with special-needs children.

“One thing about Tiny that’s not tiny is his heart,” Eubanks said.

During his time on stage. Laldee wanted to thank family members individually. To his sister, “for keeping my hair right.” To his brother, “my little Mini Me, for letting me be your role model.” To his granddad, “You do a lot for the ATM.”

Laldee looked at his mother and became choked with emotion.

“To my mom, I love you so much,” he said. “Being there for me, praying for me all the time. I love you so much, my favorite girl.”

There were also lighter moments before delving into the plentiful cakes and cupcakes.

Assistant track coach Haywood Ellison revealed Edwards’ triple jump prowess came from a pre-meet meal at Olive Garden.

Edwards thanked his coaches for their testimonials before thanking family members for their support.

Then he used the moment to take a playful shot at his younger sister.

“I’d like to thank my sister, she’s probably the biggest brat in the room,” he said.

And she returned a smile that said, “Yeah, but I’m your brat.”