Homeward bound?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 22, 2009

With two games remaining until the playoffs begin, it’s now or never for the Goshen Eagles if they want to secure home field advantage.

Today, the Eagles will travel to Montgomery to take on the St. Jude Educational Institute Pirates with the winner taking a big step forward as far as playoff seeding goes.

Both teams are currently 5-1 in 2A Region 3, the winner of the game positions itself in the driver’s seat to finish second in the region, and in the process gets a playoff game on its home turf.

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“This is a very big game for us,” Goshen head coach Bart Snyder said. “A lot is at stake for us [today].”

“Practice has gone really well for us this week. The kids are upbeat and working hard.”

The Eagles are currently unbeaten in the month of October, riding a three game winning streak – improving its record to 5-3.

At home, GHS has been fairly successful, posting a 4-1 record with its only loss coming to the hands of unbeaten Pike County.

When the team leaves the Eagle’s Nest however, it’s a different story.

The Eagles are 1-2 on the road, with the team’s lone road victory coming against Zion Chapel, who is 1-7.

“[The road record] is something that doesn’t really bother me,” Snyder said.

“I know we can go out there and win as long as we play our football.”

A big reason for the end of the season surge has been the Eagles ability to control the ball on offense and limit its opponent’s opportunities.

“We are going to try and do what we have all season long, keep the game close until around the fourth quarter and hopefully wear them down enough to the point where we can bust a big play and take control of the game,” Snyder said.

During this current winning streak, the Eagles have scored 25 or more points in each of the games and have held its opponents to 20 points or less in all three games.

The Pirates on the other hand have been perfect on the road with a 3-0 record, however are just a game above .500 at home, with a 3-2 record.

Still, with a 6-2 overall record, St. Jude poses some problems for the Eagles, according to Snyder.

“[St. Jude] has a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball.

“[Running back] Noel Butler and [quarterback] Joseph Jones are both very talented and their offensive line does a good job of lining up in different formations throughout the game – we are going to need to be prepared to be able to adjust everything they throw at us,” the coach added.

As they have done all season long, the running back combination of Marcus Jackson and Reginald Foster led the way for the Eagles last week, as the team was victorious over Highland Home, 27-12.

The backfield duo combined for three touchdowns last Friday night, a 58-yard run from Jackson and a 40-yard and 67-yard run from Foster.

Even with the pressure the game may have on the team, Snyder said he hasn’t seen any of the effects of it so far on this team.

“We all know what’s at stake here – all we can do is our job and let happens on the field happen.

“I have asked [the players] to think about this game as just another ball game and to play to the best of their ability – if we do that, we have a good shot at winning,” Snyder said.

Goshen will look to lock up the second place in the region against the Pirates tonight at 7 p.m.