BROOKLET — The South Effingham Mustangs competed in a passing league competition Tuesday against Bryan County and Southeast Bulloch at Southeast Bulloch High School. But, it was more than just a glorified practice. It was a family reunion of sorts.
Two former players from the 1987 Effingham County football team, which finished second in the state and captivated the whole county in football fever, Greg Manior and John Kenny talked a little about the old glory days, while working on getting their respective teams ready for a grueling season.
Manior said it was nice to see Kenny as well as Kenny’s assistants Buddy Sorrow and Duane Newland, who coached Manior and Kenny back in the ’80s.
Both, Manior and Kenny said they vividly remember the Rebels’ banner 1987 season.
“Every year at the start of football season, it’s a vivid memory that just sticks in my mind,” Kenny said. “I can probably tell you every play from every game.”
Kenny, who was hired as SEB’s head coach in February, wasted little time in luring Newland and Sorrow out of retirement to help him mold the Yellow Jackets into contenders in Region 3-AA.
“I got two gems out of retirement and I’m just ecstatic to get them,” Kenny said. “I learned so much from them and I’m still learning today from them.”
Like he did at Effingham, Newland is coaching the linebackers, while Sorrow is the defensive coordinator. At Effingham, Sorrow was calling the offensive plays.
Though they coach together, Kenny said he has to remind himself that he’s not playing for them, but coaching with them.
“Oh, I’m still scared they’ll make me do up-downs,” he said. A lot of the things they did back then, we still do now.
The number one thing is to make kids accountable and do right. I just don’t want to do up-downs.”
Kenny said that the 1987 Rebels was a huge family and they hung out off the field as much as they played and practiced on it.
“I still have great memories and I think about it all the time,” he said. “I hope one day we can get there.”
As for the passing league, Manior said his team moved the ball well but there’s still work to do.
“We got to throw the ball and catch it,” he said. “We’re not a real big throwing team, so this is good practice for us when we decide to throw the ball.”
Defensively, Manior said the passing league is helping because the team needs improvement on pass coverages.
“We have a long way to go defensively,” he said. “We’re pretty good against the run right now but passing wise we need to get guys dropping back into coverage and making the right steps.”
On defense isn’t the only place the Mustangs have a long way to go but today the team leaves for Carrollton, which is more than 250 miles northwest of Guyton.
The Mustangs will participate in a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp at the University of West Georgia with more than 20 teams.
“It will be good for the defense to see other teams running routes,” Manior said. “It will be good to get on the road and look at some different surroundings and bond a little bit.”