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Rebels ready to hit
eric maxwell fs jr copy
Effingham junior free safety Eric Maxwell leaps for the ball in practice Wednesday. - photo by Photo by Jimmy Currier

The introductions are over, now it’s time to start really hitting.

Effingham County High School, like prep schools all over the state, practiced in helmets and shoulder pads Wednesday through Friday and got the players acclimated to being back on the gridiron.
Monday, the Rebels go at it full force in all the football gear.

“We’re ready, it’s going to be exciting,” senior offensive tackle Nick Brant said. “I’m ready. This is my last year and I’m ready to see what’s going to happen.”

As for the first day of practice Wednesday, ECHS coach Jack Webb, who is entering his third season, said it was everything he expected.

“We were kind of slow and moving around kind of rusty,” he said. “Usually, the first day is getting organized and getting people in the right places.”

Practice was pushed back to 6 p.m. because of ECHS conducting open house, where the students received their class schedules and met their teachers for the upcoming school year.

During practice, the players brushed up on the fundamentals of football as well as learning how to run the Wishbone offense and the 5-2 defense.

“We cover the base stuff, the fundamentals of blocking, tackling and special teams,” Webb said. “We teach the kids and try to have them remember what they are supposed to be doing and learning the different formations.”

During part of the practice, the players worked on position-specific drills. The players also practiced on special teams, specifically how to defend a punt return.

During practice is where players can earn starting positions. The Rebels lost 11 starters from last years team and its punter and place kicker.

The defense, according to co-defensive coordinator Nate Hayes, is going to be the strength of the team.

“It’s hard to say how we look right now, it’s still early but we return eight starters and we played a lot of young guys last year who will step up for us this year,” he said. “Our strength is going to be our defense. They are going to have to carry the offense until they come along.”

Once school commences Monday, practice will be from 3:45-6:30 p.m.

Even though the Rebels had approximately 100 players practice last week, Webb said it’s not too late for more to come out for the team.

He stresses that it’s important to have an updated physical and be academically eligible.

But time is short for the Rebels. The team has 14 more practices until the team scrimmages Groves at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at Rebel Field in Springfield.

The Rebels open the season at home the following Friday against Richmond Academy.