Published 12:00 am Friday, November 6, 2009
For the first time since 2001, the Goshen Eagles will play host to a playoff game when they take on the Fultondale Wildcats tonight.
Despite the obvious excitement of playing at home, head coach Bart Snyder said the team is focusing on the task at hand, rather than playing in front of a raucous home crowd in Goshen.
“We’re all very excited about the opportunity we have,” Snyder said. “Of course, we tell them how fortunate they are to be in this position, but we just try to look at this as if it’s just another game. This is another game between two teams and at the end of the game, there will be one team left. Our ultimate goal is to be that team.”
Standing in Goshen’s way to becoming the team still alive at the end of the night are the Fultondale Wildcats.
The Wildcats have an offense that can run the football out of multiple formations.
However, it isn’t the formations, but rather the running back for Fultondale that has caught Snyder’s eye.
“They have a running back, Christopher Barber, that is just really, really good,” Snyder said. “He runs extremely hard. I would say he runs the ball just as hard, if not harder than anybody we’ve seen all year long.”
Barber has impressed Snyder so much that the coaches have placed a special emphasis on sure tackling this week in practice.
“The number one thing is we’ve got to tackle,” Snyder said. “That Barber kid can hurt you if you let him. You can’t arm tackle at all with him. You’ve got to square up and make sure you get good contact on him.”
The game should be a close one, as both teams come in with 7-3 records. Fultondale’s defense will likely help keep the game close, no matter the production it gets out of its offense.
“They’ll show us a four-man front defensively,” Snyder said. “They’ll mix that up with a few different looks and by sending their backers, but they’re a good defensive ball team. Anytime you play Pickens County 14-9, you know you’ve got a tough team.”
For Goshen, the key to victory remains the same as it has all year long.
“We’ve just got to continue to do the things that we do well,” Snyder said. “We’re going to rotate our players in and out so that we’ll have a chance to be fresh in the third and fourth quarters, which is when we’ve been the strongest, I think.”
Snyder said he hopes that the Eagle offensive line will be bale to spring some big holes as the game goes along.
“We’ve got to make sure our blocking is top-notch,” Snyder said. “Our blocking will enable us to set up some stuff late in the ball game that could give us a chance to win.”