It’s familiar territory for the South Effingham Mustangs wrestling team.
Saturday, the Mustangs are hosting the Area 3-AAA traditional tournament — again — and are the defending champs. The Effingham County Rebels, winners of two straight Area 3-AAAA crowns, will be defending their title in Brunswick again.
“This is the real season,” said South Effingham coach Tom Onorato. “This is all that matters."
The Mustangs are coming off a strong showing at the Sweet Onion Classic in Vidalia. The Rebels have been off since the Crossbone Classic at East Paulding two weeks ago.
“I feel good about our kids,” Onorato said. “They’re eager for it. I think they’ve been working for this. I think they’re ready to meet the challenge of it.
“Everyone knows what we’re getting ready for,” Onorato added. “They know what it’s about. They know what the expectations are.”
His seniors especially know what’s at stake. The wrestling season ends next weekend with the state traditional tournament at the Gwinnett Center.
“They know they don’t have a next year to fall back on,” Onorato said. “They know what’s ahead of them.”
The double elimination format will get under way at 10:30 Saturday morning at South Effingham High. The Area 3-AAAA tournament will start at 10 Saturday morning at Brunswick High School.
While Effingham’s team is still relatively young, Josh Barnhill and Kevin Ulmer have had outstanding seasons, along with Wade Hall, Bruce Smith and Zach Gilliam. Josh Jameson, Robbie Collum, Chad Tucker and Adam Morse will lead the Mustangs into the area tournament.