Goshen falls on road

Published 1:08 am Saturday, August 29, 2009

ABBEVILLE – The Goshen Eagles started their season off on a disappointing note Friday nigh, falling on the road to Abbeville 21-13.

The same Abbeville team beat Goshen in an overtime thriller in 2008, but head coach Bart Snyder said the group of Bulldogs his Eagles faced Friday were much improved.

“We knew coming into this ball game that we were playing a much better ball team than we played last year,” Snyder said. This Abbeville team is better on the offensive line. They’re better athletes and they’re better as a team.”

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Abbeville (1-0) led nearly the entire game, forcing a three-and-out on Goshen’s first offensive possession before taking the ball 47 yards in 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead with 5:35 remaining in the first quarter.

On the drive, Abbeville faced a fourth and goal from the 1-yard line, but was able to score on a quarterback sneak.

“The opening series wasn’t too good,” Snyder said. “But, we made them earn it.

Neither team would score the rest of the first half, with Goshen (0-1) taking until the seven-minute mark in the second quarter to pick up its first first down.

Goshen’s offense got better from that point on, as the unit was not forced to punt after just three plays the rest of the game.

Snyder said the offense was able to improve thanks to the experience of being on the field.

“We’re very young and inexperienced on offense,” Snyder said. “We’re learning a new offense. This group is slowly picking it up. They’re getting more and more confident. The more we play, the better we’re going to get. The sky is the limit for this group. We’re going to go through some growing pains, but we’re going to be fine.”

Goshen’s offense finally put points on the board on its first possession of the second half. The key play of that drive was a 42-yard run by Reginald Foster that set the Eagles up with a first and goal from the Abbeville 8. Foster would then punch it in on an 8-yard scoring scamper to tie the game at 7. Goshen seemed to have the momentum, as it forced Abbeville to punt, and Foster returned the punt all the way to the Abbeville 45. However, Foster fumbled the ball on third down to give the ball back to Abbeville and swing the momentum the way of the Bulldogs. Abbeville would take advantage, scoring in just five plays.

The big play was a trick play in which quarterback Corey Gochett got the ball to Quintin Newman on a lateral, who threw a long pass to Marcus Grimsley that covered 54 yards and set the Bulldogs up with a first and goal.

“We knew what was going on, but we allowed it to happen,” Snyder said. “Everything I saw tonight was something we can fix. We’re going to fix it. We’ve got a good ball team.”

Abbeville would go on to score a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead. The Bulldogs would further build their lead with a 73-yard touchdown drive to start the fourth quarter.

The drive ate up 4:23 of clock, giving Goshen the ball with a 14-point deficit and just 5:02 remaining in the game. Goshen would cut it to 21-13 on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Jerome Lawrence to Foster with 2:19 remaining.

Abbeville was not to be denied, however, as it ran out the clock to preserve the eight-point win. Foster led Goshen’s rushing attack with 59 yards and a touchdown. The game was played without Goshen starting quarterback Aaron Bryan, who was inactive. Lawrence went 8-17 for 133 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in Bryan’s stead.Lawrence’s play may have been enough to earn him heavy consideration for the starting job.

There’s always going to be competition,” Snyder said. “We’re building a football team, and we feel the more we get after it in practice and breed competition, the better we’re going to get.” Despite the heartbreaking loss, Snyder was upbeat after the game, citing his pride in his players as the reason.

“It was impressive to watch Goshen football get back where it is supposed to be,” Snyder said. “They played four quarters tonight. I’m very, very proud of this group.”

Goshen will be back in action on the road against Zion Chapel next week.