By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Spring football games kick off Friday
EC vs. SE

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald

SPRINGFIELD – Stadium lights will be turned on Friday night – time for Effingham County and South Effingham football players to provide a glimpse of what to expect in about three months.

ECHS and SEHS will conclude their 10 spring football practices with spring games. The Rebels will play host to Bleckley County at Rebel Field at 7:30.

The Mustangs will be at the Corral for an intra-squad matchup at 7:30.

“We’re excited to see the progress some of the kids have made,” ECHS coach John Ford said. “Some of the holes we have to fill are not small if you think about some of the kids we (graduated).”

The Rebels won six games last season and earned a state playoff spot for the first time since 2018. But now senior quarterback Matthew Ford will be graduating in a few days along with key skill players Miquel Allen, Khiry Wallace, and defensive stalwarts Tucker Wilson and Tyler Wells.

Junior Nathan Hayes will start the spring game at quarterback. Ford said he’ll be looking at Landen Wright, Lamar Roberts, Jacob Hillis and Jacques King as well.

“I feel good about our quarterbacks,” said Ford, who also gave a positive nod to the defense, offensive line and skill positions.

ECHS should benefit from the return of 6-foot-3, 200-pound Keion Wallace, a highly regarded wide receiver/linebacker who missed most of last season because of shoulder surgery.

“I struggle with the benefits of playing a spring game against an opponent rather than breaking up a team and having (an intrasquad) game,” Ford said. “You don’t want to have to prepare for another team but you want to get good at your stuff while identifying your weaknesses so there’s some give and take.”

South Effingham coach Nathan Clark says his squad has been using the phrase, "We have to get like-minded’ while going through the spring."

“We’re having a good spring so far and I think the buy-in is as good as it’s been since I’ve been here,” said Clark, who will be conducting his fourth camp with the Mustangs. “Right now, we’re trying to make sure we put the boys in the right positions.”

Determining a starting quarterback will be at the top of the list. Rising juniors Kaden DeGenero and Aubrey Heath both saw playing time last season and remain the frontrunners.

“They’re both competing and that’s what you want this time of the year,” Clark said.

South loses a big chunk of its offensive production with the graduation of Region 2-AAAAAA Offensive Player of the Year Cameron Edwards, a running back who rushed for 1,093 yards in nine games.

But spring workouts provide a chance to start anew. Clark said he has been impressed with defensive back Justin Martell, running back Jamari Fields, fullback Jah’Tavion Weickerson, linebacker Rakeam Williams, linemen Matt Moore and Mason Anderson and cornerback Jaden Sanders, to name a few.

South opens the football season on the road against Vidalia on Aug. 19. Effingham County kicks off the same night at Richmond Hill.