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Mustangs top Rebels
Overflow crowd sees SEHS down ECHS 20-6
Cody Turner wraps up Craig Moore. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

SE defense 2

More tough defense from South Effingham.

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EC defense 1

But so do the Rebels.

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SE defense 1

The Mustangs' play tough defense.

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Brandon English is on the ball for the Mustangs' first touchdown.

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All the talk is over and another Effingham County-South Effingham football clash is in the books.

The Mustangs were one step ahead of the Rebels in their 20-6 win over the Rebels at The Corral on Friday night.

“Our guys are in shape and are physically conditioned,” South Effingham head football coach Greg Manior said. “They were fired up all week and all they talked about was redemption from last year.”

All through the week, Manior reminded his Mustangs of the 41-3 drubbing they took last year at Effingham. That loss is now ancient history.

Twice, South Effingham took advantage of Rebel turnovers and consequently a short field to build a 14-0 lead.

Late in the fourth quarter, with the public address announcer screaming “run clock run”, junior Jace Daley took a reverse 7 yards into the end zone, making it 20-0 and effectively ending the game, with only 28 seconds on the clock.
Daley’s touchdown culminated an eight-play, 91-yard drive, sparked by a 29-yard run by Daley, a 23-yard run from sophomore Frank Manker and a 21-yard rumble from senior fullback Gage Marks.

But of all that offense, it may have been senior quarterback Jeff Hamilton’s 1-yard sneak that was the difference. On third-and-1 with 1:41 remaining, the Mustang offensive line pushed just hard enough for Hamilton to convert the first down.

Effingham, however, refused to wave the white flag.

Senior Raymond Hines took the ensuing kickoff after Manker’s TD 85 yards to put the Rebels on the board.
Effingham attempted an onside kick, but as the case all night, the ball bounced in the Mustangs’ favor. The Mustangs then set up in their favorite formation — the victory formation — and Hamilton knelt twice to end the game.

Manior, who was a standout running back at Effingham County from 1984-87, said beating his alma mater was bittersweet; but make no mistake, he’s proud of his team’s win.

“That’s my school. That’s where I graduated from. I have a lot of great memories at Effingham,” he said. “But this is the best feeling I have ever had as a head coach. It’s good to see these kids respond to what I’m trying to teach them.”

Effingham County head football coach Jack Webb said his team still has some growing to do.

“Our backs didn’t run as hard as they are capable of and I don’t know if they were really seeing the holes that were there,” he said. “They (South Effingham) got a good football team. We’re not the same team we were last year and they’re not the same team they were last year.”

The Mustangs defense, anchored by linebackers Hunter Barras, Bobby Stroud and Chris Zittrouer, along with linemen Cody Miller and Ethan Tanner, closed off the running holes several times, limiting the Rebel offense to only 48 yards rushing in the second half.

The Mustang secondary did a good job covering the receivers, allowing the front seven to harass Effingham quarterback Chris Hamilton all night.

Hamilton only completed three of 10 passes with an interception.

“Our defense did a great job. We had guys flying around and having fun,” Manior said. “They’re well coached and are doing exactly what the coaches tell them and that’s what’s so good about them.”

South Effingham constantly mixed up its defensive fronts, while running a few stunts.

The Mustangs got on the board with 6:43 remaining in the first quarter when senior offensive lineman Brandon English pounced on a loose ball in the end zone, fumbled by Manker on his dive from 2 yards out.

The Mustangs had a short field, starting from the Rebel 25-yard line after a Rebel fumble.

The Mustangs added another score with 6:04 remaining in the second quarter when Jeff Hamilton kept the ball on the option, sprinting 30 yards to the end zone. Again, the drive was short, only 46 yards, and was set up by sophomore Cody Turner’s interception.

The Mustangs piled up 224 yards of offense, 205 coming on the ground. Marks ran for 74 yards on 14 carries. Manker had 12 carries for 49 yards and Daley rushed for 47 yards off 4 totes. Jeff Hamilton added 38 yards on nine carries.

Hamilton completed one of four pass attempts in the first half for 19 yards, finding Marks on his lone completion. With a 14-0 lead at the half, the Mustangs did not go to the air.

The Rebels gained 183 yards of offense, 149 coming on the ground. Chris Hamilton led the team with 39 yards on 11 carries. Senior Brandon Best rushed for 33 yards off seven totes; junior Steven Tarpley had seven carries for 27 yards and sophomore Michael Johnson rushed for 25 yards on 15 carries. Fullback Craig Moore added a yard, converting a first down.

Junior Seth Hillman made two catches for 23 yards and Tarpley caught an 11-yard pass.

The yardstick

First downs    9    7
Rushes-Yards    41-149    39-205
Passing Yards    34    19
Passes    3-10-1    1-4
Total Yards    183    224
Penalties    5-15    4-25
Punts    4-31.5    6-24
Fumbles/lost    2/2    2/0

Score by quarters

1st    2nd    3rd    4th    Tot.
ECHS    0    0    0    6    6
SEHS    7    7    0    6    20

Scoring summary
First quarter
South Effingham — Brandon English fumble recovery (Chris Zittrouer kick)
Second quarter
SEHS — Jeff Hamilton 30 run (Zittrouer kick)
Fourth quarter
SEHS — Jace Daley 7 run (run failed)
ECHS — Raymond Hines 85 kickoff return (kick failed)

Individual statistics
ECHS — Chris Hamilton 11-39, Brandon Best 7-33, Steven Tarpley 7-27, Michael Johnson 15-25. SEHS — Gage Marks 14-74, Frank Manker 12-49, Daley 4-47, Jeff Hamilton 9-38,
ECHS — Chris Hamilton 3-10-1, 34. SEHS — Jeff Hamilton, 1-4, 19.
ECHS — Seth Hillman 2-23, Tarpley 1-11. SEHS — Marks 1-19.