Injuries abound for both GHS, Red Level

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 29, 2000

Sports Writer

The number seven ranked Goshen Eagles

hope to overcome several obstacles tonight when they host the Red Level Tigers in an important Class 2A Region 3 match up. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Stadium in Goshen.

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Tonight’s game against the Tigers will start a

five game stretch against region opponents for the Eagles which could determine their fate for the rest of the season.

Goshen (4-0, 1-0 in region play) comes into tonight’s game with one less day of rest following an impressive 37-0 victory over Gulf Shores in Foley Saturday night. GHS head coach Joe Thornton said the Eagles have already felt the affects of the short week.

"It was really a tough win for us because they were very deep," Thornton said. "Gulf Shores really wore on us because we don’t have much depth. Being a short week with our kids having one less recovery day, it really took a toll on us. We’ve been really dead legged this week."

With only 16-to-18 healthy bodies on the varsity squad right now, Thornton said as many as three freshmen will have to start this week for the Eagles.

"We hope our legs will be under us so our young kids can play," Thornton said. "Hopefully the experience they’ve got in the first four games will help."

Among some of the players who won’t play against Red Level include offensive lineman Cedric Bean (knee), guard Dan Garner (concussion) and Nathan Jones (broken hand). Junior running back Quez Burden will play, but only in limited action after suffering a high ankle sprain last weekend against the Dolphins.

In addition to being without three key starters, offensive line coach and defensive coordinator Dennis Truitt will not be on the sidelines after having eye surgery performed this week. Thornton said he hopes to have Truitt back next Friday night at Georgiana.

However, it has been a bumpy week for a different reason at Red Level. The Tigers (2-2, 0-1) are coming off a 29-9 loss to the region leading Panthers (5-0, 3-0) last week.

With the season approaching the halfway point, Red Level first year head coach Tim Grimes said he still has numerous concerns about the Tigers.

"We’ve still got a lot of questions unanswered," Grimes said. "We’re kind of at a crossroads trying to find some leadership, but we hope to play better tonight."

The Tigers will primarily run out of the I formation led by tailback Lorenzo Pryor. Pryor (5-foot-9, 160), who rushed for over 1,200 yards last season, will be making his first start of the season after overcoming an assortment of injuries during the first part of the season. Backup tailback Clint Jackson, who started last week at Georgiana, is expected to see lots of playing time as well. The Tigers, who average 265 pounds per man up front, are expected to pound the ball between the tackles against the Eagles’ smaller defensive line with several people ailing.

Defensively, the Tigers will line up in a 4-4 alignment expecting to key on tailback Dee Brundidge with a focus on stopping the running game.

If the running game is taken away, look for the Eagles to use their big play passing game led by quarterback Michael Hatten and 6-foot-4 wide receiver Jamar Tucker.

Like the Eagles, Grimes said the Tigers are also overcoming a ton of nagging injuries heading into the heart of the region play schedule.

"We’ve had a lot of people banged up," Grimes said.

"But a couple of our kids will be back to snap on punts."

With the next three games against region contenders Red Level, Georgiana (Oct. 6) and Straughn (Oct. 13), Thornton said he realizes this will be a crucial stretch.

"The next three region games are big for us," Thornton said.

This will be the first time in five years the Eagles have faced Red Level on the gridiron. In 1995, the Eagles defeated the Tigers 10-7 in Goshen.