There’s more at stake for the South Effingham Mustangs football team Friday night than just going up against former coach Bob Herndon again.
The Mustangs and Herndon’s Benedictine Cadets will square off at Memorial Stadium with a share of first place in Region 3-AAA (A) on the line. The Mustangs and Cadets are each 1-0 in the subregion, as is Burke County.
Should Hephzibah beat Burke County on Friday night, the winner of the South Effingham-BC game would have sole possession of first place with three games to play. If Burke wins, there would still be a two-way tie. Both South Effingham and BC have yet to play Burke.
“Whoever wins is in control of their own destiny,” Mustangs coach Greg Manior said. “It’s going to be a hard-nosed, hard-fought game.”
South Effingham survived a second-half challenge from Richmond Hill last week, hanging on for a 17-7 win. The Cadets (4-2, 1-0) beat Hephzibah 32-20 last week, and they’ve also beaten Groves and Windsor Forest this year.
Against the Wildcats last week, the Mustangs had just 58 yards in the second half. One thing Manior wants his linemen to do is concentrate on blocking rules, knowing who to block on what play.
“We need to get better on staying on our blocks,” he said. “We fire off pretty good on offense. We’re blocking the wrong person now and then. Our aggressiveness is good. I feel good about both our offensive line and defensive line.”
The Mustangs are worried about the Cadets’ depth on offense. BC has been held under 21 points just once in their first five games. John Williams ran for 121 yards against Windsor Forest, as the Cadets piled up 262 yards rushing.
Quarterback A.J. DeFilippis was 9-of-11 passing in a win over Butler.
“They’ve got three or four good running backs and a quarterback who can run the Veer and has good receivers,” Manior said. “Defensively, they’ve got some linebackers who can run to the ball. They are playing good, sound, fundamental football.”
After knocking off Washington County two weeks ago, the Mustangs have lost and were shaky against Richmond Hill. But they’re still in a very enviable position tied atop the subregion standings.
“Right now, I’m happy where we’re at,” Manior said. “Five and one is a good start. We look back on (the loss to) Cross Creek and the mistakes we’ve made. But several things could have gone wrong in the other games.”
South Effingham at Benedictine
• Records: SEHS 5-1, BC 4-1
• Time: 7:30 p.m.
• Where: Memorial Stadium, Savannah
• Radio: WSGA FM-92.3