It’s time to buckle the chin strap, tighten the laces and go full speed. Though it's still September, Effingham County's playoff hopes hinge on Friday night's Region 3-AAAA game against Evans.
The Rebels (2-2, 2-1) suffered a 20-7 setback last Friday night to Ware County. With undefeated Evans (3-0, 2-0) coming to Rebel Field on Friday, ECHS football coach Jack Webb said his team must limit mistakes if it wants to win.
“We’re fixing the mistakes,” he said. “Even as bad as we played, we had a chance to win that football game, but the blocked punt, roughing the passer and kick return for a touchdown did us in.”
Wanting to avoid similar mistakes this week, Webb said his team is working a little extra on special teams coverage in practice as well as cutting down on mental errors.
“Practice has been all right,” he said. “We’re not playing as well as we could, but I’ve seen improvement.”
Last week, the Rebels made second half adjustments that seemed to help its offense move the ball, including quarterback Chris Hamilton putting the ball in the air and Hamilton lining up as running back.
Webb said it’s possible that the Rebels will use the same strategy this week.
“It kind of depends on what they (Evans) give us,” he said. “If they put eight or nine in the box, we could do some other things.”
In the Black Knights’ three wins, they have proven they can both run and pass the ball. Evans runs the ball 70 percent of the time, but has gained 45 percent of its yards through the air. Eight of the Knights' 12 touchdowns have come via the pass.
Senior quarterback Kevin Millward, who doubles as the team's punter, has completed 24 of 45 passes for 462 yards. He rarely makes mistakes, as he's thrown eight touchdowns to only one interception.
However, the three opponents Harlem, Lakeside-Evans and Greenbrier do not possess the defense Effingham puts on the field.
“Effingham is the best team we have faced so far,” Evans coach Marty Jackson said. “Effingham’s defense is always strong and plays hard-nosed football.”
Evans at Effingham County
• Records: EHS 3-0, ECHS 2-2
• Time: 7:30 p.m.
• Where: Rebel Field, Springfield
• Tickets: $7 at the gate
• Radio: WSGV FM-105.7