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Goshen outruns Bulldogs

Marcus Jackson did his best impression of the Energizer Bunny Friday night in Brundidge. The Goshen sophomore running back kept going, and going, and going into the end zone in a 51-26 Eagle victory.

Jackson compiled 230 yards rushing on 17 carries with touchdown runs of 9, 15, 44, 40 and 43 yards. He had one catch for 16 yards and he also added 10 tackles and an interception with a 68-yard return on defense.

He may have had 314 all-purpose yards in the Eagles (2-3) offensive explosion, but he wants none of the credit for the win.

“I just want to thank the Lord for allowing me to have a great game,” Jackson said. “And I want to thank my linemen for blocking so great tonight. I would not get anywhere if it was not for them.”

Jackson said it was also great to beat the mystique that surrounds the Pike County (2-3) Bulldogs.

“It feels so good to win this one,” he said. “It means so much to beat Pike County because they are supposed to be the big team in the area.”

Senior tight end Austin Bennett echoes Jackson’s sentiment.

“It feels great to win this one,” Bennett said. “I live down here and I have heard about this game all year. Now I can go to the barber shop tomorrow and talk about the game with a smile on my face.”’

Bennett had three catches on the night for 34 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown grab in the fourth quarter. He also had nine tackles.

Goshen head coach Joe Thornton said this game could be the turning point of the Eagles’ season, much like the win against Georgiana in 2000.

“A program needs a win like this one to get confidence back,” Thornton said. “We had a goal line stand against Georgiana in 2000 that led to a win and we went on to win the region that year.”

The key to the Eagles’ success Friday was simple for Thornton.

“These kids came out and played with heart and passion,” he said. “That has been the only thing missing all year and they had it tonight. Hopefully we can use this as a stepping stone for the rest of the season.”

Senior Jon Ginyard knows the Eagles won the right way.

“People have been talking about this game all summer since the schedule was announced,” Ginyard said. “And we shut all the doubters up, but we didn’t talk about it we just showed up and played the game.”

Jackson had all but two of the Eagles’ rushing yards on the night and senior quarterback Tyreese Wingard added 105 yards through the air and two touchdowns. He was 5-of-7 chucking the pigskin.

“We were definitely the underdogs coming into this game,” Wingard said. “Everyone was doubting us, so it just feels so great to come out of here with a win. When we went up there quickly in the first quarter I knew our defense would back us up and they did.”

The Eagles were forced to punt after their first possession, but a fumble on the punt return gave the Eagles the ball at the Pike County 45 yard line and Jackson wasted no time getting into the end zone. He rushed five times on the drive for 40 yards and punched it in from nine yards out. Jackson connected on the PAT and Goshen had a 7-0 lead with 3:31 to go in the first quarter.

GHS pinned the Bulldogs deep inside their own red zone and netted a safety and a 9-0 lead.

After a good free kick return, Jackson grabbed his second score of the night on a 15-yard run. He kicked the PAT and Goshen had a 16-0 lead.

The Bulldogs showed some life towards the end of the second quarter when they drove 73 yards in 17 plays and used up 3:40 off the clock.

Junior quarterback Josh Parker connected with senior wide receiver Quan Bryant for a six-yard touchdown strike with 10.3 seconds to play in the first half. Parker found Bryant for the two-point conversion and the Bulldogs cut the lead to 16-8 at halftime.

It took Jackson and the Eagles three plays in the third quarter to find the end zone again. Jackson raced 44 yards for his third score and Goshen got the two-point conversion for a 24-8 lead with 10:16 to go in the third.

Following a Bulldog three plays and out, Wingard split two Pike County defenders for a 55-yard touchdown strike to senior wide receiver Jared Gibson. The PAT was blocked and Goshen led 30-8 with 8:20 left in the third.

On the very next play from scrimmage, senior linebacker Keyone Woods picked off a Parker pass and set up the Eagles on the Pike 25 yard line. An unsportsmanlike call on the Eagles pushed it back to the 40 yard line, but Jackson scampered 40 yards for the end zone and a 37-8 lead after a true PAT.

Wingard hit Bennett for a 19-yard touchdown with 11:51 left in the game and PCHS junior tailback CC Griffin took the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown and cut the lead to 44-14. Junior linebacker Spencer Bright recovered the onside kick for Pike and Parker punched the ball in from 17 yards out for a 44-20 score after a failed two-point conversion.

Jackson rushed three times for 47 yards on the next drive to cap the scoring for Goshen with 9:00 to play.

Griffin again found pay dirt, this time on an eight-yard run with 4:36 remaining in the game. The two-point conversion failed and the score stood at 51-26.

Griffin finished the game with 132 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries. Parker added 20 carries for 130 yards and one touchdown before leaving the game with a foot injury.

Pike County actually won the total offense battle, 380-337.

Up next for Goshen is a road region game against R.C. Hatch Oct. 3. Pike County heads to Abbeville for a region contest Oct. 3. Both games are scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.