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’Stangs still have spots up for grabs as season nears
Trey Whiddon
Trey Whiddon (44) churns for yardage in South Effingham's Cardinal-White scrimmage in May. Cole Herrington (15) is working to bring him down. - photo by Photo by Birk Herrath

GUYTON — When  South Effingham’s football team takes the field Friday for a scrimmage game against the Savannah Blue Jackets, it will be more than just a dress rehearsal. Positions are still up for grabs and first-year head coach Nathan Clark is looking for players to separate themselves to solidify the starting lineup.

One of Clark’s first objectives is finding playmakers on who can turn around what was a woeful offense last season. The Mustangs averaged just 12.7 points per game.

“There are so many different spots, (available),” Clark said. “Everybody is evaluating everything. We want to score some points on offense and I’m looking for certain things out of certain kids. We have to see where guys fit in.

“Offensive line-wise, there is competition up front. There are six or seven guys that are rotating in five spots. We have to see who is going to step up and play when the lights come on.

“At fullback, Trey Whiddon has been injured so we are looking to see if Jake Kerns, Sae’quan House, Nick Milbrandt or Liam Rickman can step up.”

Clark wants to train his team to take a professional approach off the field. 

“(Friday will be) a trial run for every aspect of the game,” he said. “Everything from getting out of school, to going through the pregame meal, getting dressed and to how things go during the pregame — they have to learn what’s going on so that in the first game it’s like clockwork.”

Savannah doesn’t boast a long roster but Clark expects its varsity guys to play at a high level even when he puts his JV team into the game.

“In the first half of the third quarter, we will play the ones and then we will play JV,” Clark explained. “(Savannah) has very small numbers right now. We have a much larger team. They are playing guys all the way from the ninth grade to twelfth grade. We have more ninth graders than they have varsity players.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to wear them down a little bit just due to the fact that we have more numbers. But then at the same time, (with) them playing varsity the whole time, once we start playing the JV and some of the other guys, they will probably bounce back up.”

Clark, the former offensive coordinator of two-time defending Class AAAAAA Lee County,  is working diligently to instill confidence in the Mustangs.

“When you come in, you have to change things up,” he said. “They are looking for a change — the administration, the athletic department and the players. I’ve just tried to bring about things I’ve done and seen in the past.

“I try to make sure the team has a good time and enjoys football. I tell them they are a bunch of winners. They are successful. They just have to believe in the process.”

Friday night will be more than just an exhibition game. Clark is calling it an event and wants to see the entire Mustang community in the stands.

“We want their support,” he said. “It’s exciting to get any season kicked off. The team has a lot of energy, excitement and confidence, and we feel they are a really good team.

“Take part in the festivities Friday night. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”