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Big numbers out for Rebels
05.08 echs spring fb 1
Effingham County’s Michael Johnson breaks free during a drill as the Rebels opened spring football practice this week. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

There are a lot of new and young faces greeting Effingham County High School football coach Jack Webb on the Rebels’ practice field — a lot of them.

The Rebels started their two weeks of spring practice Monday, and coaches handed out uniforms to 162 prospective players, with more continuing to show up.

“I’m glad they’re out here,” said Webb, “and not doing something they’re not supposed to be doing.”

Webb and his coaching staff had 130 players out on the practice field Tuesday afternoon. Nearly 100 —97 to be exact — are rising freshmen or sophomores. That’s put an emphasis on teaching this spring.

“We’re trying to put in our basic offense and basic defense,” Webb said, “then understanding the basic alignment, the basic terminology, how we call the base offense, how we block it. We’re improving their technique in blocking and tackling.”

Dealing with those sheer numbers of players is difficult enough with a full staff, which Webb doesn’t have and may not have for the remainder of spring practice.

“It’s tough on us because we’ve got three coaches still coaching baseball,” he said.

The Rebels are coming off a 5-5 season in which they were in the playoff hunt until their 28-12 loss to Brunswick in the season finale. There are some holes to fill — defensive leader Daniel Mungin is headed to Louisburg College in North Carolina after graduation and leading rusher and leading passer Chris Hamilton also is finishing up his high school education.

Hence, there’s a lot of teaching for a vastly young Rebels team. It’s a tutoring that goes beyond the more sophisticated Xs and Os on the high school drawing board for players only a few months removed from middle school football.

“It’s a different league,” Webb said. “It’s a faster game played by bigger people. Their techniques have to be better. You have to learn more football.”