Defense, special teams and hard-nosed running was the recipe for success in Effingham County's 24-7 win over Greenbrier on Friday.
Now, the Rebels hope to keep the momentum going when Ware County comes to town Friday at 7:30 p.m. in a Region 3-AAAA showdown.
Last Friday, the game was pushed back 45 minutes to 8:15 p.m. because of lightning.
The game was stopped for approximately 50 minutes with 8:53 remaining in the second quarter because of lightning in the area from a second storm that moved east from Atlanta.
The first delay did not seem to bother either team’s offense as both scored on their respective opening drives.
Greenbrier moved the ball 80 yards, culminating in a Richards 1-yard sneak for a touchdown.
On Effingham's ensuing drive, Michael Johnson tied the game on a 35-yard run, powering through four Wolfpack tacklers, in the first quarter.
“The only thing we could do is keep them focused,” ECHS head football coach Jack Webb said about keeping his football team in game mode, despite the delays. “It messed up your routine, but the kids and coaches did a good job of staying focused on what’s going on and keeping their heads in the game.”
Effingham’s special teams came up big twice in the game, leading to 10 points.
In the second quarter, the Rebels’ punt block unit stormed past the Wolfpack’s offensive line, allowing Darryl Wright to block Tripper Mischel’s punt.
Quarterback Chris Hamilton turned it into a 3-yard touchdown run with 11:53 to play before halftime.
Late in the fourth quarter, Effingham’s Kaleb Writch was in the right place at the right time, as he pounced on a mishandled punt at the Greenbrier 8-yard line. This set up Jackie Chen’s 20-yard field goal and gave Effingham County a 17-7 lead with 3:57 to go.
“That was big. They muffed a punt and our coverage was there and we were able to recover it,” Webb said. “We only got a field goal out of it, which was disappointing, but it put us ahead by 10 points. It forced them to have two scores and at that point we felt confident.”
Webb said he knew Greenbrier had the firepower to go the distance, but any chance of a comeback was washed away when Raymond Hines scampered 32 yards to the end zone with 1:22 remaining.
Hines, who doubles as a cornerback, is expected to see more time on the offensive side of the ball.
“He gives us that added step we are missing sometimes,” Webb said. “We’re working with him and a few others doing some things. We’re trying to get more on offense.”