Eagles down Squadron, clinch playoff berth
Gatorade showers were widespread on the Goshen sideline Friday night as players and coaches celebrated a 53-20 win over Highland Home and a berth into the postseason.
Marcus Jackson had video game-like numbers for the Eagles (5-3, 4-2 AHSAA Class 2A, Region 3) as he ran all over the Flying Squadron’s (0-8, 0-6) home turf to the tune of five carries for 244 yards and four touchdowns.
Jackson averaged 48.8 yards on the ground with TD runs of 57, 51, 77 and 57 yards.
He also added a catch for 25 yards and had six tackles on defense.
“Marcus did a great job tonight,” Goshen head coach Joe Thornton said. “But without our offensive line it wouldn’t be possible. The offensive line has really grown as the season has gone on.”
While Jackson was a star for the team, Thornton was thrilled to get Goshen back in the playoffs for the first time in a long time.
“It’s been a four-year process for these seniors, who have started since ninth grade,” Thornton said. “They’ve grown up, believed in what we’ve been doing and put us in this situation.”
The Goshen offense started the game off with a bang.
On the very first play from scrimmage, senior quarterback Tyrese Wingard took the snap and tossed a pass to senior tight end Austin Bennett who raced through the Flying Squadron defense 80 yards to the end zone to jump out to an early 7-0 lead.
The Eagles got the ball right back and added to their lead as Jackson got his night underway.
On second down, Jackson raced around the right side and took the rock 57 yards to the house for a 14-0 lead.
Highland Home answered back on the next series as Aaron McKenzie took the ball on a 50-yard scamper for a touchdown.
But on Goshen’s very next play Jackson broke a tackle and raced down the sideline for a long TD run to make it a 20-6 game.
On their fourth possession and just sixth play of the game late in the first quarter Jackson broke through the Highland Home defense once again and went 77 yards to the end zone for a 28-6 lead.
The scoring in the first quarter was not done, as Highland Home quarterback William Mcgough threw a pass over a Goshen defender into the waiting arms of Javarious Means who went 59 yards for a Flying Squadron score to make it 28-12.
Wingard and Bennett hooked up once more to start the second quarter for a 15-yard TD pass to make it 34-12.
Goshen added a two-yard option touchdown by Wingard, Jackson’s second 57-yard run and a late fourth quarter TD run by Marcus Coleman.
Another Jackson led the Eagle defense as senior Matthew Jackson had 13 tackles including a sack while Kejuan Woods pitched in with six tackles.
Wingard finished the game 3-of-3 for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Bennett had two catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
McKenzie led Highland Home with 19 carries for 101 yards and a score. Mcgough threw for 169 yards on 9-of-13 passing with one TD and one interception.
Thornton said he knows that now the team has wrapped up the postseason bid, but now they are focused on getting a better seed for the playoffs.
“We’re going to do our best to prepare for St. Jude and go from there,” Thornton said. “Now, it’s about character and pride and our guys have shown that all year.”
And the fight for better playoff seeding will get underway next week as Goshen welcomes St. Jude to The Eagles Nest next Friday.
Click here for a gallery of Friday’s action