Last week was Homecoming Week.

This week night be termed Accountability Week. 

After dropping to 0-2 on the season, Charleston head coach Jerry Payne knows that youth will have to run its course. With just three seniors, a lot of younger players are getting valuable minutes where they can learn and improve.

This past week, Payne assigned skill players to look at three to four plays on film where they were involved in order to assess what they could have done better. 

“We want them to be more accountable for the stuff going on,” said Payne. “We are not pointing at faults, but at some point, the mistakes need to be cut down. It was an accountability week. We are not going to just show up and pretend everything is okay. People need to be held accountable. We talk about what was wrong, fix the mistakes, and then go play football.”

The Trojans take on Effingham, also 0-2 on the season, tonight. Someone will walk out with a win. Who will it be? Here is the preview for tonight’s game. 

TEAM RECORDS: Effingham (0-2, 0-1) vs. Charleston (0-2, 0-1)

PAST RESULTS: Charleston opened its season with a 41-30 loss to Herscher. After trailing 7-0 at halftime, the Trojans were next shut out at home against Lincoln, 20-0. Effingham dropped its season opener to Decatur St. Teresa 18-0. Last week, the Hearts lost to the defending Apollo Conference champions Mahomet-Seymour 34-15. 

“They started with a tough schedule,” said Payne. “They played Mahomet-Seymour fairly close and then dropped a close one with St. Teresa. You could see them losing both games. We hope to make it a competitive game for them this time as well.”

TICKETS: Tickets will be sold at the entrance of Effingham’s football field. 

SCHOOL SIZE: Effingham (736), Charleston (796)

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

OPPONENT’S HISTORY: Head coach Brett Hefner is in the midst of his seventh season coaching the Hearts. The team was 4-5 last season, which broke a streak of three consecutive playoff appearances that included an 11-2 record in 2019. With this year’s record, Hefner owns a 40-25 coaching record. 

EFFINGHAM’S RUNNING GAME: Last season, John Westendorf ran for 961 yards on 188 carries and 11 touchdowns. However, Westendorf has not run this year. He is speculated to be injured. In two games, Weldon Dunston leads the team with 61 yards on 27 carries for a 2.3 yards per carrying average. The team owns just one rushing touchdown on the season. 

“Their tailback was one we expected to see but he might be injured,” said Payne. “If he is healthy, that changes everything. Effingham is Effingham though. They always have players come through and step up. That group of seniors played well through JFL. They have the talent to step up if needed.”

EFFINGHAM’S PASSING GAME: Tanner Pontious is the team’s lead quarterback. Pontious has completed 21 of 40 passes for 168 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and a quarterback rating of 69.6. His senior teammate Garrett Wolfe leads the team in receiving with three receptions for 37 yards. 

EFFINGHAM’S DEFENSE: Sophomore Michael Love leads the team with 14 tackles. Right behind him is junior Spencer Fox with 13 tackles, as well as senior London Rinkel. The defense does not own an interception but owns one turnover with Logan Heil’s fumble recovery. 

MISCELLANEOUS: The weather is projected to be 79 degrees at kickoff with a humidity of 61% and a 1% chance of rain. 

CHARLESTON’S RUNNING GAME: Jeremiah Hayes leads the team with 149 yards rushing on 23 carries and one touchdown. Brett Spour adds 18 rushes for 88 yards and a touchdown. 

CHARLESTON’S PASSING GAME: Spour has completed 17 of 38 passes for 158 yards and one touchdown and two interceptions. Langdon King owns four receptions for 38 yards. Luke Nelson adds two receptions for 29 yards, while Chet Strader adds two receptions for 25 yards and a touchdown reception. Jacob Roe had one reception for 24 yards last week. 

CHARLESTON DEFENSE: Chet Shrader made nine tackles, including five solos, last week vs Lincoln, which was best on the team. Nelson made four solos for eight total. Aidan Archibald, meanwhile, had four tackles, two for loss, and recorded one sack. CHS’s defense allowed first downs on three fourth-down attempts but just one of three on third downs. The Trojans also allowed 271 total yards, about six yards a play on average.

WHAT CHARLESTON SAID: “Our kids don’t give up,” said Payne. “We were down 20-0 with five minutes to play and they were trying to find a way to get the ball back and make something happen. We fought Herscher to the end a couple of weeks ago. It’s a learning experience for a lot of our guys, so that is key. We are not going to make excuses. We should win ball games. The experience is huge right now. Our JV team is undefeated. We have kids bouncing back and forth between the two teams while staying within the quarter limit. In the end, our guys are going to show up, compete hard, and never give up.”