Eight long years

Published 11:00 pm Monday, November 3, 2008

The current Goshen Eagle seniors were trolling the halls of Goshen Elementary School the last time the Eagles participated in the postseason.

Head coach Joe Thornton left and came back to the Eagles and the program dropped down to Class 1A and was bumped back up to 2A in that time.

“Obviously it was one of our goals to get to the playoffs at the beginning of the year,” Thornton said. “It is a four-year process when you change classifications and we did it in three.”

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The Eagles were part of 2A in 2001 when they won a second consecutive region championship. They dropped to 1A and could not make the postseason, but they were reclassified as a 2A school in 2006 and made the playoffs this year.

“These kids have worked so hard to get to this point and they are believing in what we are doing,” Thornton said.

The Eagles barely missed the playoffs last year and Thornton said it feels great to get back to the postseason. He said his group of seniors is the reason Goshen (5-5) is back in the postseason.

“We have a good group of seniors this year and they have been starters since their freshman year,” Thornton said. “They have made progress through the last three years and it feels great to make the playoffs.”

But the Eagles are not satisfied with just being in the postseason.

“We have been working this whole time to make the playoffs and get our shot at making it to Birmingham,” Thornton said. “If we prepare well and show up we can play with anybody on Friday night.”

That anybody is No. 5 Pickens Co. who hosts the Eagles as the No. 1 seed in Region 4 and holds a 9-1 record on the season. They are currently on a nine-game win streak.

But the Eagles are capable of putting up points, as they had a stretch of four games in the middle of the season, when they needed it the most, when they scored more than 200 points.

Thornton said the Eagles are thrilled to be back on the road to Birmingham and they will not be satisfied until they are hoisting the Class 2A state championship trophy.

“Our guys are so excited that they are on the field early for practice today,” Thornton said. “They are ready to get the playoffs started.”