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Pickens County whirls past Eagles

REFORM – Their first trip to the playoffs in seven years did not turn out exactly how the Goshen Eagles would have liked. Goshen’s 27-14 loss to the Pickens County Tornadoes in the first round of the AHSAA Class 2A playoffs was more about missed opportunities than anything else.

Several key mistakes early in the second half stretched a 7-7 tie into 21-7 Tornado lead quickly.

“We missed a lot of opportunities and didn’t capitalize on some turnovers,” GHS head coach Joe Thornton said. “Pickens County had great depth and had some tremendous players. They were able to capitalize where we couldn’t.”

Another key was fatigue for the Eagles. Not strong on depth, Marcus Jackson, the Eagles’ star sophomore running back, caught cramps late in the game. Jackson was held to 132 yards on 16 carries. Two Jackson touchdowns were called back on holding calls. The Eagles amassed nine completions for 109 yards through the air. Penalties during the game trimmed the total offensive output to 145 yards.

Goshen also missed two field goals and had a host of penalties.

However, the night was not without highlights. Just five plays into the game the Tornadoes found pay dirt for a 7-0 lead.

The Eagles’ first possession ended on the Tornado 25-yard line when Pickens County intercepted a Tyreese Wingard to Austin Bennett pass. Goshen’s defense stepped up and forced Pickens County to punt from their own 23-yard line. Four plays later a Wingard to Jackson to Jared Gibson flea flicker and solid PAT put seven on the board for the Eagles.

The Eagles carried the momentum into the locker room at the half.

The second half was a different story. The Eagles only score came on a Reggie Foster eight-yard run.

Defensively, Matthew Jackson led the team with 16 tackles, eight assists and one sack. Keyone Woods had eight tackles and two assists.

“Our kids played their hearts out and they have all season long,” Thornton said. “A key to that success came from their willingness to finish the game. The support we’ve had from the community, our fans and our cheerleaders has been great. We’ve been blessed one of the best group of players and outstanding seniors.”

Click for photo gallery from Friday night’s game