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Pirates plunder Eagles for road victory

Despite allowing almost 400 yards of total offense, the Goshen Eagles nearly upset the visiting St. Jude Pirates Friday night in Goshen.

In the back-and-forth battle fought in the Eagles Nest Goshen led 28-25 until Pirate tailback Noel Butler busted a 40-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-two to give St. Jude a 33-28 lead with 2:00 remaining in the game.

“That is a well-coached Goshen football team,” St. Jude head coach Roberto Reed said. “If we can win against a team that played hard for four quarters like they did then we will be alright in the playoffs.”

Butler led the Pirates (7-2, 6-1 AHSAA Class 2A, Region 3) with 170 yards on the ground and three touchdowns on 15 carries. He had touchdown runs of 3, 70 and 40 yards. The Pirates put up 319 yards on the ground in the win, but two interceptions kept the Eagles (5-4, 4-3) flying in the game.

The first of those interceptions belonged to sophomore Jermaine Smith. With the Pirates leading 13-0, Smith picked off an Ivey Moscatello pass at the Pirate 20-yard line. Goshen sophomore running back Marcus Jackson rumbled into the end zone on the next play to cut into the Pirate lead. Senior quarterback Tyreese Wingard found Smith in the end zone for the two-point conversion and Goshen trailed 13-8 with 11:21 to go in the first half.

“After that interception our guys believed in themselves and they believed in each other,” GHS head coach Joe Thornton said.

Jackson led the Goshen offense with 104 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.

Thornton said the play of the defense was key against St. Jude.

“I was proud of how our defensive line played against the athletes that they have over there,” Thornton said.

The Goshen defense definitely came up big in the game. After Jackson punched in a second touchdown and kicked the PAT to give Goshen a 15-13 lead the Pirates drove right down the field and threatened to take the lead back before the half.

Wingard denied them that chance, as he picked off a pass in the end zone with 47 seconds to play in the second quarter.

The Eagles added to the lead with a 10-play, 73-yard scoring drive to open the second half. Wingard was 3-of-3 on the drive and connected with senior wide receiver Justin Knight on a 27-yard pass and 12-yard touchdown pass during the drive. Goshen missed the PAT and held a 21-13 advantage with 6:39 to play in the third.

Wingard was 5-of-8 in the game for 57 yards and one touchdown.

Moscatello connected with George Price for a 29-yard touchdown strike on the Pirates next drive and cut the lead to 21-19 after a failed two-point conversion attempt.

Moscatello contributed 71 yards through the air and 68 on the ground in the winning effort for St. Jude. The Pirates had 390 total offensive yards in the contest.

The Pirates regained the lead with 11:20 left in the final quarter on a 70-yard run from Butler. Heath Swanzy blocked the PAT and St. Jude took a 25-21 lead. Goshen senior Austin Bennett took the Eagles to the St. Jude 27-yard line on the ensuing kickoff and punched in a touchdown on a reverse two plays later from 37 yards out. Jackson kicked the PAT and Goshen held a 28-25 lead.

The teams would swap possessions until Butler raced 40 yards for the game-winning score with two minutes left in the game.

“I am proud of how our guys played tonight,” Thornton said. “I hate it for the seniors because they have come a long way, but now we just have to bounce back next week and get a win and then worry about the playoffs.”

The Eagles travel to take on Montgomery Catholic next week and then hit the road again for the playoffs and a game against Region 4 No. 1 seed Pickens County Nov. 7.