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South boys, Effingham County girls earn soccer wins
South Effingham's Andrea Stone (20) tries to keep Effingham County's Bailee Hildrebrandt (25) hemmed in the corner Friday at The Corral. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
Jaxon Whiddon
South Effingham's Jaxon Whiddon (12) heads a charge toward the goal during Friday's game at The Corral. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald

GUYTON -- South Effingham boys soccer coach DaKota Paradice was happy and in pain at the same time Friday night.

While celebrating CJ Webb’s tie-breaking goal in the first minute of overtime, Paradice aggravated a shoulder injury he suffered in a recent car accident.

The Mustangs added an insurance goal in the second 10-minute overtime period and pulled out a hard-fought 3-1 victory over rival Effingham County at The Corral.

In the girls game, Bailee Hildebrandt scored three long-range goals in ECHS’ 3-1 win over the Mustangs.

“I think I was clapping too hard and threw my shoulder out,” said Paradice, trying to keep his right arm bent and his shoulder straight.

The Mustang and Rebel boys played to ties the last two years so the need for extra time after 80 minutes should have been expected on a day that reached near 80 degrees but remained a comfortable 65 degrees for the boys’ 7 p.m. match.

Tyler Quick put SEHS (4-2, 2-1 Region 2-AAAAAA) ahead less than four minutes into the game with a blast from the left side of the box. But the Mustangs had only two shots on goal during the rest of regulation.

“I think in overtime we started playing (to our potential),” said Paradice, whose squad had three of its six shots on goal during the two 10-minute periods. “I had to threaten them with running if we didn’t score two goals in overtime.”

ECHS (1-3, 1-2 Region 2-AAAAAA) had its chances. Trey Stewart got the equalizer with 6:15 left in the first half and the Rebels had a great opportunity to win it in the 65th minute but goalie Chase Hoffman made a diving save on Daniel Castillo’s direct kick just outside the box.

Hoffman then scrambled to his feet and stopped a soft header on the rebound.

Webb broke the tie at 9:13 of the first overtime and hustling Ashton Meador added the Mustangs’ third goal at 5:46 of the second overtime.

“We’re young and still learning and (SEHS) has a lot of experience on the field,” ECHS coach Austin Czachowski said. “We’re looking forward to getting a shot at them again.”

In the girls game, an experienced star gave the Rebels an edge. Hildebrandt, a senior center midfielder who recently signed with Columbus State University, peppered the Mustangs with seven of her team’s 12 shots on goal. Her straight-away 35-yarder with 15:28 left in the first half gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead.

In the second half, from the right side of the box, she squeezed a 25-yard blast just inside the left goal post to make it 2-0.

“We have a team that’s playing hard and the whole difference is we might have the best player in the region,” said ECHS coach Wade Wright, whose squad is off to a 3-1 start after winning just two of eight matches in last year’s COVID-shortened spring.

Taylor Hoffman cut the Rebels’ lead in half with a goal with 11:50 left, but Hildebrandt answered about three minutes later to seal ECHS’ first win in the county series in three years.

SEHS goalie Layla Bosche played well, stopping nine shots. 

“We have a lot more potential than we showed today,” Mustangs coach Amanda Johnson said. “We have a good, young team and every day they’re improving.”