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Reeltown swoops through Goshen

Willie McKenzie sped through Goshen Friday night and left the Goshen Eagles stunned.

McKenzie, Reeltown’s junior tailback, took the opening kickoff of a 41-6 Rebel victory 84 yards for a touchdown and never looked back. He scored a total of four touchdowns in the game and totaled 175 all-purpose yards on the evening.

“That kickoff return was a big play for us,” Reeltown head coach Jackie O’Neal said. “Willie had a big night and all of our running backs had a good night.”

Reeltown’s stable of backs compiled 296 yards on the ground in the Rebel victory. The Rebels had 11 players rush the ball at least one time and three rush at least six times.

But Reeltown’s defense stole the show, holding Goshen (1-3, 1-2 AHSAA Class 2A, Region 3) to 184 yards of total offense. The defense also stepped up when they had their backs against the wall.

With time expiring in the first half and Reeltown (3-1, 3-0) clinging to a 21-0 lead, sophomore linebacker Shaquille Roberson picked off a pass from GHS senior quarterback Tyreese Wingard in the end zone on a fake field goal.

Reeltown took the ball 91 yards for another score and went into the half up 27-0.

“Any time you make a defensive hold like that it is killer for the other team,” O’Neal said. “That play was a big difference in the game because we went down and scored after that.”

Goshen head coach Joe Thornton said his young team can learn from the game.

“That was a good team we played out there,” Thornton said. “We have a young offensive line and two sophomore running backs. But the kids played hard and that is what matters. We spotted them a few touchdowns and we just can’t do that.”

With the game only 17 seconds old Reeltown had a 7-0 lead after McKenzie’s return. Reeltown added another touchdown on their next possession when they went 84 yards again, but this time it took 11 plays and senior fullback Carlton Turner punched it in from three yards out. Goshen sophomore Marcus Jackson blocked the PAT and the Rebels had a 13-0 lead with 4:27 to play in the first.

Two plays and 59 seconds into the second quarter Reeltown widened the margin to 19-0 following a 42-yard touchdown strike from senior quarterback Anarius White to McKenzie. White bulled his way in for the two-point conversion and a 21-0 lead.

Following an interception in the end zone, the Rebels marched 91 yards and McKenzie crossed the goal line from three yards out for a 27-0 lead. The PAT sailed wide right.

The Rebels attacked again briefly into the second half when senior linebacker Joshua Newman intercepted Wingard and McKenzie scored his second rushing touchdown of the evening from 14 yards out. A missed PAT left the score at 33-0.

Goshen got on the board with a 19-yard touchdown from Wingard to senior tight end Austin Bennett. The score remained 33-6 after a missed PAT.

Reeltown scored two points on a safety with 2:20 remaining in the third quarter for a 35-6 lead. They capped the scoring with 11.2 seconds in the third quarter. Sophomore running back Frank Kitt scampered 25 yards for a touchdown and Goshen junior Heath Swanzy blocked the PAT for the 41-6 final.

Wingard was 6-for-18 on the evening for 93 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. He had 19 yards rushing as well. Sophomore running back Jermaine Smith had six carries for 29 yards and sophomore tailback Marcus Jackson led the Eagles with nine carries for 43 yards.

On the defensive side, Jackson had 10 tackles, Wingard chipped in six tackles and Bennett had three tackles. Senior Jared Gibson recovered a fumble for Goshen.

The Eagles travel across the county to square off with the Pike County Bulldogs next Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.