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Effingham County erupts for 77 points
Effingham County running back Ashaud Roberson bulls his way for a big gain during Friday's game against Groves. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
SPRINGFIELD — The Effingham County Rebels just scored again! Well, not really. But they did score early and often in Friday's 77-14 rout of Groves at Rebel Field. It took awhile for Effingham County (2-0) to get rolling but it was unstoppable once it did. It tallied the game's final 61 points. Effingham County's Jerid Stokes threw touchdown tosses of 29 and 67 yards to Julian Thrift and Randy Scott, respectively in the opening quarter. The visiting Rebels also scored on an early Stokes pass, however, as Deshaun Moorer returned an interception 88 yards for a touchdown that left Groves (0-2) down only 16-14 entering the second period. Groves' other score came when receiver Kean James slipped behind the secondary and hauled in a 36-yard pass from Damian Ramos. Thanks to its offensive line, however, Effingham County seized control in the second quarter. Running back Desmond House tallied three touchdowns before halftime on runs of 44, 17 and 12 yards. At halftme, Effingham County led 39-14 and it went on to score the first four times it got the ball in the second half. House scored a fourth touchdown from nine yards and Ashaud Roberson chipped in a six-pointer from the same distance, too. Each back rushed for more than 100 yards. "We came out in the second half and the kids did what they were capable of doing," Effingham County coach Buddy Holder said. "They played much, much better and they were more physical, much more in focus and it showed with what happened on the scoreboard." Effingham County, held to three field goals in its season-opening win over Evans, scored on 10 of its 11 possessions. The first drive was kept alive by a crafty fake punt on a fourth-and-three situation. Instead of Stokes, the punter, receiving the snap, upback Chase Howze took it and scampered nine yards across midfield. Four plays later, Stokes connected with Julian Thrift on a 29-yard touchdown pass and the route was on. The scoring, which included a short field goal by Zach Thomas, closed with short touchdown runs by Devon Swinney and Miguel Allen in the fourth quarter. The winners finished with 417 total yards, including a team-high 147 rushing by House. Their lone pass completions were the touchdown catches by Thrift and Scott. Effingham County's defense also got into the scoring act as Julian Legrande returned an interception 67 yards along the home sideline for a touchdown. Other key defensive plays included an interception by Willie Ferrell and a fumble recovery by Dawson Stone. Effingham County will face a formidable opponent on the road Friday, the Beaufort (S.C.) Eagles (2-0). "They have a big, physical quarterback and we are going to have our hands full trying to keep him hemmed in. I know that," Holder said. "Other than that, I don't know what else they've changed." Beaufort has a first-year head coach in former NFL player DaVonte Holloman. "We've got some film of them from last year but we don't know what's going to hold true and what's not," Holder said. "I do know that quarterback (Jeffrey Smyth) is still there, though."