Tradition is rich on Effingham County High School football fields. At both Effingham and South Effingham High Schools, players and coaches both know it the minute they step onto the field. “Well, we preach to these guys to be the best they can be right now.” says Buddy Holder, Head Coach at Effingham High School Rebels.
The approach is different each and every year with the Rebels. Coming off a 5-3 season and a first round playoff exit, coach Holder says, it’s not about returning starters, it’s about growing a solid group of contributors, and he has plenty. “We’ve got all region returners playing for us and they play at a higher level.” Says Holder. “You know, as far as leaders go, we try to make everybody a leader because we try to make everybody make a positive impact on the next guy that’s around him.” he adds.
On offense the Rebels will once again be led by starting tailback Nieem Bartley. Bartley was a huge part of the Effingham County attack last year. This one will be no different. “Really, I don’t know like, it’s offense and defense.” says Bartley, who says he is weighing scholarship offers from several colleges. “We got a good offense. O-linemans good. We got a good defense. We wanna get to the dome. We trying to go all the way.” he adds.
Meanwhile down the road at The Corral. The South Effingham Mustangs open up their season Saturday night August 30th against Jenkins. “ “For us this year, we have a new offensive coordinator.” says Mustangs Head Coach Donnie Revell. “So they’re in the process of learning what we wants and how he wants it done, so. It’s a learning process, learning curve those guys have. But they’ve done a real good job this summer.” he says. Coming off of .500 season a year ago, Revell likes where his team is sitting right now, with a good mix of youth and experience. Some days the defense shines in practice, others it’s the offense. “We got 19 seniors and we got 6-8 returning players on both sides of the ball that are seniors. We feel pretty strong in that area.”
Effingham Rebels open August 22nd vs. Liberty County. The Mustangs travel to Savannah to play Jenkins High School on August 30th.