Eagles travel to Highland Home

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 27, 2000

Sports Writer

The number nine ranked Goshen Eagles hope to stay on track heading down the home stretch tonight when they travel to face the Highland Home Flying Squadron in an important Class 2A Region 3 matchup. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Clay Jordan Stadium in Highland Home.

Heading into this week’s action, the Straughn Tigers (7-1, 5-0) have already clinched the Class 2A Region 3 championship. However, there’s still plenty at stake for both teams. The winner of tonight’s

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showdown will be the number two seed and host a first round playoff game, while the loser must go on the road.

Last season, the Flying Squadron defeated Goshen 21-7 spoiling the head coaching debut of GHS head coach Joe Thornton. The Eagles have shown significant improvement, however, going11-6 over the last 17 games since losing to their rivals from Crenshaw County

during the opening week of the ’99 campaign.

Unfortunately, the Eagles (7-1, 4-1) are still banged up with the playoffs just a couple of weeks away.

Thornton said

his younger players must continue to persevere through next week’s regular season finale against Pleasant Home in order to give the injured players extra time to heal.

"We’re gonna have to continue to piece things together like Macgwyver and try to hold on to everything we’ve got despite the injuries," Thornton said.

Among the players are injured and not expected to play include senior offensive lineman Dan Garner (broken ankle), defensive lineman Cedric Bean (recovering from knee surgery) and backup tailback Clarence Bean (sprained anterior cruciate ligament). Senior Mitch Holland, who suffered a shoulder injury two weeks ago, will return after recovering a shoulder injury. Junior Dee Brundidge, who is still suffering from a sprained ankle, might dress and could see some limited action. However, Thornton said he prefers to sit Brundidge out along with his other injured players until the playoffs start Nov. 10.

Sophomore Raymond McNabb will start at fullback, while junior Quez Burden is expected move to the number one tailback position. Holland will rotate at both positions, while junior Averick Rogers might see some time in the backfield.

However, the Squadron might be without the services of

leading running back John May, who is recovering from a twisted ankle.

Despite the injury to May, Thornton said he’s still thinks the Flying Squadron is an imposing football team.

"Highland Home is an outstanding team that’s fast and very physical," Thornton said. "Coach (Claude) Giddens has done an outstanding job of establishing a tradition up there."

After starting out the season 2-2, the Squadron (6-2, 3-1 in region play) are currently on a four game winning streak. The trigger man for Giddens’ Wing-T offense is sophomore quarterback D.J. Chambers. Giddens said Chambers has a great attitude because he tries to get better every week. Julius Delaney, Jonathan Daniel and Chambers will alternate at the running back positions in May’s absence. Wes Pouncey and Randy Harris will see action at quarterback if Chambers is at running back.

Senior Billy Deavers, who is a college prospect, anchors a young but talented offensive line for the Flying Squadron. The Squadron will try to use lots of option and misdirection against the Goshen defense.

As far as the Eagles are concerned, Giddens said he’s very impressed.

"The Goshen coaches do an excellent job," Giddens said. "They’re disciplined and extremely strong.

The linemen use great technique and their skilled people are very good. We cannot key on just one player."

Tonight’s game will be the return of Goshen senior quarterback Michael Hatten, who transferred from Highland Home shortly before the season started. Hatten led the Flying Squadron to a quarter final appearance in the 2A state playoffs, a 10-3 record and a second consecutive area championship.


he certainly wants to be victorious tonight and

stay at home for the first round, Thornton said the Eagles are certainly happy just to be playing football in mid-November at this point.

"That was one of our goals the kids set at the beginning of the season," Thornton said. "We’re definitely pleased for this program to make the playoffs."