Effingham County has always prided itself on playing solid defense.
This year, the Rebels return eight starters from a team that allowed an average of less than 10 points a game last season.
“I’m excited that we have that many guys coming back,” co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Nate Hayes said. “A couple of years ago we were playing JV guys on Friday night and now we’re seeing them mature and have fun and that’s what it’s all about is having fun.”
The Rebels run a 5-2, which features five defensive linemen, two linebackers and four defensive backs.
The linemen, for the most part, stay on the line of scrimmage, while the linebackers fill the gaps and attack.
Co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Mitch Nobles said the Rebels operate out of a base 5-2 because it is flexible and they can adjust to any formation out of it.
Nobles, however, pointed out that the key to success in the 5-2 lies with the nose tackle Emir Davis.
“I think a nose man on center should draw double teams and if the nose man does not draw double teams then you won’t see us run the 5-2 anymore,” Nobles said. “We’ll have to go to something else.”
Nobles has confidence in Davis and described the 5-foot, 10-inch, 245-pound senior as quick and strong. Two years ago, Davis was moved from fullback to noseguard and has worked hard in the weight room, putting on 45 pounds. He benches 365 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds.
In addition to Davis, other returning starters include defensive end Cedric Taylor, defensive lineman Josh Kight, linebackers Daniel Mungin, D.J. Collins and Kaleb Writch and defensive backs Raymond Hines and Eric Maxwell.
With that much talent returning, Hayes said they would have a lot of fun.
“To me, fun is the key because fun is a motivator,” he said. “When the guys are pretty excited, they’re doing their best, they have the adrenaline pumping, we have the chemistry of eight guys back and that’s fun.”
Effingham County football
Head coach: Jack Webb
Defense formation: 5-2
Defensive Coordinators: Nate Hayes, Mitch Nobles
Defensive line coaches: Nobles, Clint Hodges
Linebackers coaches: Michael Ward, Sterling McNeal
Defensive backs coach: Hayes
Returning Starters: Emir Davis, Cedric Taylor, Josh Kight, Daniel Mungin, D.J. Collins, Kaleb Writch, Raymond Hines, Eric Maxwell