Effingham is still searching for that first win of the year. Technically, so is Charleston. Somebody is going to get a win no matter what, but who will it be?

Team Records: Effingham (0-2, 0-0), Charleston (1-1, 0-1)

Past Results: Effingham is coming off a 37-7 loss to Mahomet-Seymour last week. In Week 1, Effingham was defeated by Decatur St. Teresa 42-7. Charleston owns a forfeit win over Robinson but is coming off a 14-6 loss to Lincoln last week. Last year, Effingham won the Apollo Conference and defeated Charleston 34-14. 

Tickets: Tickets will be sold at the gate at Trojan Hill. 

School Size: Effingham (736), Charleston (796)

Kickoff: 7:00 p.m

Opponent’s History: Head coach Brett Hefner enters his seventh season as head coach of the Hearts. He owns a 41-22 overall record, which includes a Final Four appearance in 2019. Had COVID-19 not taken away the playoffs, Effingham might have returned to the Final Four last year, which included winning the Apollo Conference. 

Effingham Running Game: Effingham is led by junior running back John Westendorf, who owns 33 carries for 161 yards. Junior quarterback Tanner Pontious is second on the team with 36 carries for 73 yards. As a team, the Hearts average 145 yards rushing per game. 

“We’re not focused on one player, but more what their offense can do to our defense,” said Charleston coach Jerry Payne. “We just have to stay focused. We talk about if we play hard it’s harder to lose. We just have to keep playing hard.”

Effingham Passing Game: Pontious has completed 6-of-18 passes for 123 yards with one touchdown and one interception through two complete games. 

Effingham  Defense: Dalton Fox leads the team with 15 tackles, while Max Nelson owns the lone sack. Noah Jones and Connor Simmons each have 11 and 10 tackles respectively. 

Miscellaneous: The weather is projected to be 77 degrees at kickoff with a humidity of 48% and a zero chance of rain. 

Charleston Rushing Game: Nate Shrader led the team with 15 yards on four carries. Zayvion Johnson-Mitchell added five carries for 10 yards. Quarterback Jack Nelson ran the ball nine times for -24 yards with a touchdown run. 

“It’s been pretty energetic at practice. We have been just trying to take care of the mistakes that we had late in the game,” said Payne. “We could have won had we not had some key turnovers. We have to get the ball in for seven.”

Charleston Passing Game: Quarterback Jack Nelson completed 14-of-19 passes for 186 yards and one interception. Wade Wright caught two passes for 59 yards, while Hunter White caught three passes for 47 yards. Nelson completed passes to seven total receivers. 

Charleston Defense: Charleston held Lincoln to 14 points despite Lincoln owning possession of the clock with a 31:05 to 16:55 margin, as well as Lincoln running 65 plays to Charleston’s 38. Charleston finished the game with one sack and one fumble recovery.

What Effingham  Said: “They are very big up front on both sides of the ball and do an excellent job with their schemes,” said Effingham coach Brett Hefner. “Their QB is returning and is a very talented player.  We haven’t played as well up front as we need to win games.  We lost a lot from the last couple of years and we are playing a lot of guys playing varsity football for the very first time, and we have played two very difficult opponents.”

What Charleston Said: “We are going to have to stop the run better than we did against Lincoln,” said Payne. “Lincoln had a lot of yards, but we gave up only 14 points. We just couldn’t get that last touchdown to go up ahead. We have to get the ball moving and finish in the red zone.”