Eagles fall to Elba in heartbreaker
ELBA – Its just the second week of the season, but AHSAA Class 2A Region 2 may have played its version of a region championship game Friday night.
Elba and Goshen clashed in Elba Friday, with the No. 2 ranked Tigers taking home a 21-19 win.
Both teams scored three touchdowns in the contest, but the difference was point after attempts.
Elba converted all three of its extra point attempts, while Goshen made one extra point and failed on two two-point conversion attempts.
One of those two point attempts came in the third, when Goshen had a chance to tie the game at 14 with an extra point.
However, GHS called for a fake extra point attempt, but was unable to convert.
Senior Marcus Jackson appeared to have an angle to the end zone on the play, but holder Wesley Davis could not get the pitch to Jackson off cleanly.
“We went for the fake, and it was there, but we pitched it into the ground,” said Goshen head coach Bart Snyder. “We had it, and I’ll take our No. 5 one-on-one with anyone.”
After the game, assistant coach Sam Dean told the team it was his idea to go for the fake, and apologized to the team.
“Ya’ll did everything possible tonight, and I’m sorry I let you down,” Dean said.
Despite the failed fake, Goshen had a chance to tie the game in the fourth after Jackson scored to make it 21-19.
Jackson got the ball again on the two-point attempts, but was stuffed at the one-yard line.
Goshen forced Elba to punt on the ensuing possession, and had one final chance to win the game after Jackson returned the Tiger punt to the Elba 49.
However, Goshen only gained five yards on its first three plays of the drive, setting up a decisive fourth-and-5 from the Elba 44.
Junior Reginald Foster got the hand off, but was knocked down one yard shy of the first down marker, sealing the win for Elba.
“They did what they had to do, and they made the proper adjustments to win,” Snyder said.
Despite the loss, Snyder said he was proud of his team’s performance.
“Anytime you play like this, you have to be a little bit happy,” Snyder said. “These guys played their tails off, and it was just one of those situations where one team had to win and one team had to lose.”
The two teams were tied at 7 at halftime before Elba took a 14-7 lead on its first play from scrimmage in the second half.
After Goshen punted the Tigers to their own 11, Elba’s Michael Lindsay broke an 89-yard touchdown run to make it 14-7.
After a touchback on the ensuing kickoff, Foster answered with a one-play drive of his own, going 80 yards for the score to make it 14-13 and set the stage for the fake extra point.
Lindsay’s 89-yarder was his second touchdown of the game, after he broke a 59-yard touchdown in the first quarter for the game’s first points.
“Number 6 made some great plays for them,” Snyder said. “That’s what beat us. They didn’t drive the ball on us, they just had big plays.”
Goshen’s first touchdown of the game came when Foster scored from six yards out on the final play of a 14-play drive that ate up 7:02 of clock.
Goshen had a chance to strike first on its first possession of the game, but Brandon Alford dropped a Jerome Lawrence pass that likely would have gone for a touchdown.
After Goshen’s failed fake extra point in the third, Elba scored its final touchdown on a 21-yard screen pass from quarterback Gunner McCollough to Sandarius Reed.
For the game, Goshen outgained Elba 322 to 282.
Foster finished with 124 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, while Jackson had 94 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
Lawrence carried 14 times for 51 yards.
Lindsay, who carried 14 times for 219 yards and two touchdowns, led Elba.
However, the key stat of the game was likely penalties.
Goshen was whistled for 9 penalties totaling 110 yards. Six of Goshen’s nine penalties were 15-yard personal foul penalties.
“That’s one of those things we have to fix,” Snyder said. “Those personal fouls are something that should not be happening. It’s just discipline, and that ‘s something I have to fix. That’s my fault. That’s Bart Snyder’s fault, and I take all the blame for that.”
Goshen will return to action next week at home against Red Level in region play.