Eagles’ offense and defense pleases Thornton, Billingsley on the horizon

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 22, 2000

Sports Editor

Unlike Charles Henderson and Pike County, which play on Friday night, the Goshen Eagles will have the opportunity to go through another week of practice before opening their season on Sep. 1 against Billingsley High School.

Goshen head coach Joe Thornton said he has been real pleased with how his players have responded in practice and said offensively and defensively the team is beginning to come together.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

"We’re getting better each day," the second year head coach said. "We’re getting tougher and in better shape. On offense, we’ve come a long way."

Thornton said he liked the way the offensive line has been performing in practice.

"I’m really going to have to brag on Coach (Dennis) Truitt and Coach (Charles) Winchester," he said. "They’ve done a real good job in getting those kids prepared to play. They’re farther alone then we expected."

On the defensive side of the ball, Thornton is just as pleased.

"The defense is really coming together," he said. "Quez (Burden) has really stepped up at linebacker. Some are still learning and picking up on what we’re doing, but for where we are right now with two weeks left to play, I couldn’t be happier."

Thornton, like many 2A coaches around the state, admits that depth is a concern.

"We’re going to have a lot of kids that play both sides of the ball," he said. "But we have 28 players that can play. I call them the ‘few and the proud’"

But Thornton said 28 ball players is a "good working number."

"At Daleville High School in 1992 they had 28 players and they won 24 straight ball games," he said.

Thornton said neither junior Averick Rogers or senior Michael Hatten, who are both battling for the Eagles quarterback job, have really "separated" themselves from one another.

"It’s a good situation obviously," he said. " But to be honest, they both swap out in practice and I wouldn’t feel bad about running them in with plays during a game. They both do a great job. It’s just neither one has stepped forward to claim the job."

Thornton was missing three players from Monday’s practice because of the flu. But the head coach counted himself lucky to be minus just that number.

"Butch Caldwell, the head coach over at Carroll High School in Ozark, is a real good friend of mine," Thornton said. "He called and said he had 13 out with the flu."