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Rebels devour Pirates with second-half 'shark attack'
Effingham County's Dawson Stone (68) eyes a loose ball after a blocked punt Friday night, beating Brunswick’s Kyle Rehberg (80) to it and returning it 32 yards for a touchdown. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
Fullback Brady Holder (26) and lineman Chandler Hinely (55) lead the way on a Rebels running play Friday night. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
They were ready to go at halftime. We were actually trying to calm them down. They were fired up. They were ready. They were ready from the get-to tonight.
Rebels coach Buddy Holder

SPRINGFIELD — The Brunswick Pirates encountered troubled waters at Rebel Field on Friday night.

Sparked by coach Buddy Holder’s creative halftime speech, Effingham County broke open a close game by scoring 23 straight points en route to a 45-14 Region 2-AAAAAA victory.

“We were in good shape at halftime and I asked them, ‘Have you ever seen ‘Shark Week?’ Everybody said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘Well, when you start smelling blood in the water, what do you start doing as a shark? They start getting a little hungry and they start getting a little bit more aggressive.’ I think the players bought into that,” Holder said.

Apparently, the Rebels (5-3, 1-1) were completely sold on shark tactics. After being limited to two first downs and 84 total yards in the opening half, they used five straight powerful runs by Desmond House to get into the end zone to start the third quarter.

House capped the 50-yard drive, set up by a 15-yard penalty, with a four-yard run.

“They were rearing to go at halftime,” Holder said. “We were actually trying to calm them down. They were fired up. They were ready.

“They were ready from the get-go tonight. We had a great pregame (routine). We probably had one of the most physical pregame scrimmages that we’ve had.”

Effingham County’s special teams fueled the second-half feeding frenzy when Dawson Stone picked up a blocked punt and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown. Zekeil Walls created the botched kick by pushing an upback into kicker Kyle Rehberg.

The Rebels tallied a third third-quarter score by marching 58 yards in seven plays, the final one a leaping five-yard reception by Randy Scott.

Brunswick (3-5, 0-2) interrupted the barrage with a fourth-quarter touchdown pass. The Rebels negated it with another scoring pass, however. This one with 1:06 left in the game went to tight end Necos Gadsen.

Effingham County’s first-half scores came on a one-yard sneak by quarterback Jerid Stokes and a three-yard run by House. House finished with 145 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 21 attempts. He also had four two-point conversions.

Stokes’ score was set up by a Julian LeGrande interception. Kenyan Hunter (interception) and Walls (fumble recovery) also got turnovers for the Rebels.

“They executed the game plan we practiced and that’s what makes your proud as a coach,” Holder said.

Effingham County is off this week. It will return to action Oct. 26 at Glynn Academy.