It didn’t take long for the Goshen Eagles to convince the crowd why they’re in the region playoffs.
A pair of first-quarter touchdowns and a convincing defensive stand made the Eagles look like the seasoned team they are in their 28-12 victory over 4A Montgomery Catholic to end their regular season with a 7-3 record.
Both junior running back Marcus Jackson and sophomore running back Reginald Foster posted 1,000 yard-plus records and helped put the Eagles in position to host the first-round Class 2A Region 3 playoff at the Eagles Nest.
“It feels good (to break 1,000 yards), but I have a thousand more to go (before the playoffs are over),” Jackson said.
That might sum up why the Eagles honed their execution against the Knights.
“There was a little pay-back tonight,” said Goshen head coach Bart Snyder, referring to Goshen’s 41-0 loss in Montgomery, “but what we were really after tonight was to work on our game for the playoffs.”
“We worked hard tonight on the offensive line and we caught some passes,” he said. “The offensive line did well this season to get our two running backs over 1,000 yards.”
It was also that offensive line that helped Jackson pick up 162 yards rushing on nine carries and two touchdowns Friday, and Foster 128 yards on 8 carries and one touchdown.
Sophomore quarterback Jerome Lawrence, who shared the night with junior quarterback Aaron Bryan, completed eight passes for 48 yards and one touchdown, a 23-yard pass to sophomore Marcus Coleman to light up the first points on the board.
Senior kicker Wesley Burton posted the final points on the board with a 20-yard field goal.
It looked as though the first-quarter scoring would continue for the Eagles when they took the ball back on downs deep in their own territory and Foster broke a 34-yard run back up by a 13-yard pass to sophomore Gage Ballard.
Two plays later, the Eagles an incomplete pass to sophomore wide receiver Brandon Alford ended the drive and set the Knights up for their first touchdown with a pair of option plays and pass into the end zone with just 7.8 seconds left in the half.
The Knights posted their only other six points just 60 seconds into the third quarter, but only after an inadvertent whistle caused the Goshen kickoff to be re-kicked.
With the score tied at 12, the Eagle offense fired up, after Bryan returned the Knights’ kick to the 32. Lawrence recovered his fumble on first-and-10 and connected on a four-yard dump pass to Foster, who broke a 43-yard run one play later.
Barely 3 minutes after the Catholic score, Jackson stretched an 11-yard run to find pay dirt, putting the Eagles back into the lead.
Foster put his points on the board with just a minute-and-a-half left in the third quarter.
Defensively, Jackson led the Eagles in what Snyder characterized as “a total team effort” with 10 tackles, four assists and one sack.
Sophomore linebacker Marcus Coleman had four tackles, three assists and dropped Knights quarterback Conner Wright twice. Junior John Bean posted seven tackles and three assists.
Junior linebacker Jeffrey Long had three tackles and six assists.
The Eagles will face Fultondale next week in the Eagles Nest in the first round of the 2A playoffs. The last time the Eagles hosted a playoff game, outside linebackers coach Mike Wilcoxon was an Eagle player, Synder said.
“Fultondale is a good team and are exceptionally fast,” Snyder said.
“We’re going to have to bring A-game. These guys are good.”