Effingham County and South Effingham have had their opening football games, and now it’s time for the annual football showdown.
Effingham County, which defeated Richmond Academy 31-0 last Friday, comes to The Corral to try to defeat South Effingham, which beat Groves 35-21 last Friday, for the second year in a row and claim the county championship.
Last season, the Rebels ended a three-year losing streak against the Mustangs with a dominating 41-3 win.
South Effingham head coach Greg Manior, who was a star running back for the Rebels from 1984-87, would like to beat his alma mater.
“It means a lot. I got guys on both sides of the football,” he said. “I have nephews who play for Effingham and it’s always tough, but that’s what makes football such a special game. It pits families against each other for one weekend and then we’re family again.”
For the Mustangs to win, they must find a way to score on the Rebels’ stiff defense, which allowed only 25 rushing yards last week.
“They come hard and get off blocks,” Manior said about Effingham’s defense. “When you got a great front four that can rush the quarterback and great defensive backs and linebackers pursuing; it’s going to be tough. But you will see a variety of stuff from us. We will use a good mix of run and pass out of a variety of sets.”
Meanwhile, ECHS coach Jack Webb said the team has been working on straightening out a few problems from last week, including kickoffs and holding on to the football.
“We’ve worked real hard on it. Obviously, we had a hard time kicking off down the football field, but hopefully with a dry field it will be better,” Webb said.
“Some of the turnovers were because we weren’t holding on to the football or making bad handoffs. But we have been working on ball security all week.”
Webb hopes to build off last week’s rushing performance, which netted almost 300 yards.
“We did a good job running at times and hopefully we can build off that this week,” he said. “But we still have to get where we can throw the football and make the passing game work for us.”
Manior has reviewed his team’s play from last week and said the Mustangs have a long way to go.
“I was satisfied with our effort, but we got to do better in the secondary,” he said. “Our offensive line is doing a pretty good job, but we got to stay on our blocks a little longer. I thought we did a good job running the ball and not turning the ball over but we just got to get better all the way around.”
On offense, the Rebels will operate primarily out of the wishbone formation, while the Mustangs will primarily run the Wing-T.
On defense, the Rebels will line up in a 5-2 while the Mustangs operate out of a 4-4.
The county championship is always one of the most well attended games for either school and the passion runs high.
The schools have squared off every year since South Effingham opened in 1996. Effingham leads the series 7-6.
1996 Effingham 29-15
1996 South Effingham 14-0
1997 Effingham 22-21
1997 South Effingham 13-6
1998 Effingham 42-0
1999 South Effingham 35-28
2000 Effingham 39-14
2001 Effingham 14-3
2002 Effingham 34-14
2003 South Effingham 9-0
2004 South Effingham 25-7
2005 South Effingham 33-20
2006 Effingham 41-3