Going up against Statesboro could be more than a measuring stick for the Effingham County Rebels football team Friday night.
It’s also a chance to keep the momentum built from last week’s convincing win over Wayne County going and to keep their postseason hopes alive.
“You build on success,” Rebels coach Jack Webb said, noting the 27-0 victory over the Yellow Jackets that ended a three-game skid. “Sometimes you go through some tough times to learn a lot about yourselves. I still feel we have a good football team.”
His Rebels (3-4 overall, 3-3 in Region 3-AAAA) also have a challenge ahead in the Blue Devils, two years removed from the last state championship.
“They are the three things coaches don’t like to hear,” Webb said. “Big, strong and fast.”
Evans stunned Statesboro two weeks ago, beating the Blue Devils 10-7. Statesboro (6-1, 5-1 in the region) roared back with a 42-6 thumping of Richmond Academy, mostly behind backup quarterback Aaron Cone after starter Luke Connell went out with an injury. Running backs Nic Lanier and Willie Shelton give whoever plays quarterback a brace of explosive options in the backfield.
“We’ve got to do a great job of tackling and not letting them get out in the open,” Webb said. “And their offensive line is quick off the line of scrimmage. They will be the most fundamentally-sound team we play all year.”
Yet the most formidable obstacle for the Rebels on Friday night likely will be senior defensive tackle DeAngelo Tyson. Tyson, listed at 6-feet-2 and 276 pounds, is already committed to Georgia. Rivals.com has made Tyson the No. 1 prospect in the state and No. 19 in the nation.
Trying to create a gameplan for Tyson, or around Tyson, isn’t easy, since he’s in the middle of the Blue Devils’ defensive line.
“He’s good,” Webb said. “And I don’t think he’s gotten to his potential yet. He’s extremely strong. When he gets on the road, he needs headlights and a license plate. He’s going to be a Sunday afternoon (NFL) player. He’s a good kid, too.”
For Webb, a Statesboro alum and former longtime assistant there, going up against the Blue Devils, who have established themselves as one of south Georgia’s premier programs, means seeing where your program is.
“Everybody measures their program based on what you do against Statesboro,” he said. “If we can play toe-to-toe and even beat Statesboro, we’ve got to feel good.”