Eagles, PCHS face tough opening round

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 10, 2000

Sports Editor

Pike County and the Goshen Eagles will both be at home Friday night to open the first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association state playoffs.

The Bulldogs will play host to the Springville Tigers in Class 3A and Goshen will tangle with the Samson Tigers in Class 2A action.

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Both games will kickoff at 7 p.m.


Pike County Keys to Victory: You

know those four losses on Pike County’s record? Forget about them. If the Bulldogs have one advantage over Springville, it’s because of who’ve they played. Pike County lost to

Class 5A Eufaula by one point, 34-33, Class 1A power Courtland in Courtland, 19-15 and CHHS’s Friday night opponent Stanhope-Elmore 28-6. In Class 3A region play, the Bulldogs were unstoppable, losing just one game to Alabama Christian 17-15 and still claiming the Region 2 championship.

Springville hasn’t faced the caliber of teams that PCH has and on Friday night, Coach Wayne Grant’s troops will bring a battle-hardened disposition into the game.

Pluses: A ground game that just about can’t be stopped. Senior tailback Tyrone Boyd is "Mr. Outside" and bullish running back Durane Flowers is "Mr. Inside". Flowers is tough to bring down once he breaks containment and has deceptive speed in the open field. Boyd is a hard runner, but where he really becomes dangerous is in the Bulldogs’ passing game. Plenty of times during the season, Boyd has been able to get under whatever quarterbacks’ Shanton Redmon and Marquez Foster throw up. The offensive line, led by center Sherill Brown and Jeremy Lampley, are huge. Pike County’s defense has been solid against the run this year and are led by middle linebacker senior Sam Diggs.

Minuses: Passing teams have been able to exploit the Pike County defense this season on numerous occasions and that could be a problem if the Bulldogs face a quality quarterback during the playoffs. Turnovers, have been a problem all year long for the offense and cost the Bulldogs in losses to Eufaula, Courtland and Stanhope during the year. Also, depth could be a concern, but as long Grant’s first teamers are healthy, the Bulldogs have the skill to play with anyone in 3A. Plus a number of junior varsity players have stepped up and been added to the roster and have seen significant playing time.


Goshen Keys to Victory: If there is any team that has been on a roll in Class 2A, it’s the Eagles. Their only loss of the year came to the Straughn Tigers, 20-14 and wins have come over Class 3A rival Luverne, traditional power Highland Home 24-0, Georgiana on a goaline stand 18-12 and Red Level 34-22. Eagles’ coach Joe Thornton has definitely made an improvement from last season, coming into tonight’s contest with a 9-1 record. His team believes they can win it all and they just might.

Pluses: The offense has weapons galore, with Dee Brundidge at tailback and Jamar Tucker at wide receiver. Quarterback Michael Hatten doesn’t make mistakes in the pocket (he’s thrown just three interceptions all year) and Quez Burden provides a solid punch at fullback in the backfield. Tucker is a versatile athlete and at 6-foot-4 , 205 pounds he’s hard for a defensive back to cover. Sophomore Kendaris Pelton has turned into a clutch receiver opposite Tucker. Speedy backup tailback Clarence Bean could start at many other schools and has become an emotional spark-plug for the Eagles this year. The Goshen defense has recorded four shutouts this season and are giving up just 7.5 yards per game. Rhett Bean and Burden are terrors at linebacker, Dan Garner and Barry Jones are defensive line standouts and Tucker at free safety can fly to the football.

Minuses: The playoffs will be a first time experience for many of the Eagles’ players, which could add some pressure. Injuries have been hurting Goshen all year, but in many occasions their talent has been enough to overcome the injuries and win. The Eagles have only turned the football over seven times this season and if that trend doesn’t continue in the playoffs it could mean for an early exit.