Eagles prepare for no-huddle attack

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 16, 2001

Sports Writer

Goshen head football coach Joe Thornton is concerned about the Eagles’ second-round playoff test with Horseshoe Bend tonight.

Horseshoe Bend’s no-huddle, offensive attack is something the Eagles haven’t prepared much for all season, a fact that worries the third-year Eagle coach.

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"They’re 50-50, run-pass, but they stay in the shotgun predominately. Their quarterback’s probably one of the best I’ve seen in 10 years of coaching. He’s 72 percent form 15 yards and in and 62 percent on his other completions in the last five ball games, so whenever you throw the ball like that, it’s definitely a concern, especially since we don’t see that every week."

The Eagles’ defense rose to the occasion a week ago against Excel, holding the Panthers to 155 total yards, 141 coming from running back EHS Josh Monk. The defense will need to be up to the challenge again tonight if the Eagles hope to advance to the third round.

"It’s tough to prepare for and what you can’t get lulled into is they spread you so thin that you can’t stop their running back," Thornton continued. "They have a great running back too, he’s 5-11, 185 pounds, runs hard so their coaches do a great job with this offense. Hopefully, we can do a good job covering them and slow their running back down and come out with a win."

Offensively, Goshen will rely on Quez Burden. Burden racked up 184 yards on 26 carries a week ago after eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark in the regular-season finale win over Pleasant Home. Thornton says Burden will get his carries, but if the Horseshoe Bend defense focuses too much on the run, the Eagles won’t be afraid to throw the football.

"We’re not going to change what we do. We’re going to keep doing what got us here and of course Quez is a big part of that. Quez has done a great job running the ball, but we’ve got some good receivers too. Last week, Averick(Rogers) was a little cold and we didn’t throw the ball as much. But if they’re (Horseshoe Bend) going to pack eight in the box, we’re not going to be dumb. We’re going to throw the ball too."

But Thornton was quick to point out the Horseshoe Bend offense won’t overshadow a solid defense.

"Their defense is pretty good too. They played Lineville a 21-6 ball game and Lineville popped two big plays on them, but never really drove the ball on them. And Lineville’s No. 2 in the state in Class 2A and they’ve got one of the top prospects in the country in their fullback, so it’s going to be a tough game."

Thornton also said running back Tyrone Crawford, who contributed 39 yards on five carries last week in the second half, is still recovering from a lingering groin injury and his status is a game-time decision.

"Tyrone’s day-to-day because he’s still having problems with his groin. We keep icing and trying to take care of him and hopefully he’ll be ready for the game."

Thornton hopes the long trip to New Site won’t affect the Eagles.

"Hopefully, we’re prepared because of last year and this year. Last year, when we went to the second round, it was a little bit further trip than it is this year. We also traveled to Gulf Shores last year so I’ve tried to schedule some games to get some travel in to make sure the kids are acclimated to that so we don’t lose our focus."