Ready to rumble

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 1, 2010

All good teams must face tests, both big and small, during a season’s time.

One of the biggest tests for a Pike County team all season will take place on Friday.

After opening the season with a big victory against G.W. Long last week, the Goshen Eagles will be flying into its first real test of the season against a perennial power.

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Newcomer to 2a Region 2, Elba, will be the next target for the Eagles with the winner getting an early step up in the race for the region title and a playoff birth.

But like any kind of game preparation, head coach Bart Snyder said his coaching staff and team had been focusing on the first game to see where it needs to improve for the upcoming game.

“We saw a lot of things that we had to adjust to offensively, defensively and in special teams (against G.W. Long),” Snyder said Wednesday afternoon.

“Practice has been very intense this week, which is a good thing. We are trying to raise their level of readiness (for Elba).”

This will be the first time the both Elba and Goshen will meet on the gridiron.

Thanks to the help of its 19-6 win over Opp in the season opener, the Tigers were able to move up one spot in the Alabama Sports Writers Association poll from No. 3 to No. 2.

In that win on the road, two of the Tiger scores came in the second quarter when quarterback Gunnar McCollough hit Michael Lindsey twice in the endzone.

McCollough finished 16-of-18 for 183 yards – with six of his passes being caught by Lindsey for 87 yards.

The Tiger defense held Opp scoreless until late in the fourth quarter.

“(Elba head coach) Scott Rials is great coach and has done an outstanding job over there,” Snyder said.

“They have a tough spread attack on offense. They are going to be able to move the ball through the air and they have some good running backs.

“Defensively, they are going to blitz 60 to 70 percent of the time – and our line is going to have to be ready,” the coach added.

While the Eagle offensive line will be looking to stop the Tiger blitz, it will also be looking to make some holes for the Eagle running backs, particularly Reginald Foster and Marcus Jackson.

Jackson led the way for GHS with 221 yards off of eight carries and score twice, while Foster finished with 100 yards on 15 carries and two scores.

In all, the Eagles rushed for 445 yards.

“We are going to go into the game looking to do what we do,” Snyder said about his team’s offensive attack. “And we are going to be successful if our offensive line is comfortable.

“If our line gives our (running backs) an opportunity, they are going to make something happen,” he added.

In the end, Snyder said his team knows what it is facing come Friday.

“This is one of the better teams in the state,” the coach said.

“We are going to go into the game looking to play our best against one of the best.

“We know we are going to have to be intense. This is a big game for us, but it’s no bigger than the next game after it – every game is important regardless of who it is,” Snyder added.

Goshen and Elba will tip off Friday night at 7 p.m. in Elba.