Goshen plays Providence Christian

Published 8:15 pm Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Goshen High School's Reginald Foster (21) carries the ball during the Eagles' game against Pike County High School. (Messenger Staff Photo/Thomas Graning)

Even though the postseason is still a week away, it will be playoff type atmosphere in Goshen tonight.

The Eagle’s Nest will be the site where two playoff teams will be looking to close their seasons the right way, as Goshen will try to finish what it started against Providence Christian.

Coming off a dominating 50-point win over rival Zion Chapel, the GHS will return to action on a short rest against the visiting Eagles from Dothan, but even with just four days of work, Bart Snyder believes his group will be ready to go.

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“We have had some really good practices this week,” the coach said on a windy Wednesday afternoon during the team’s last practice of the week.

“We have played with a similar short-week schedule before this season, so the guys know they have to get after it right from the start, and that’s what they have done. We are going to need to be ready for Providence Christian, who is a very, very good team.”

In just its fifth year of competition, Providence Christian has secured its third playoff berth thanks to its 7-2 overall record and 5-2 record in 2A Region 3 play.

Banks Smith, who has rushed for 796 yards and seven touchdowns, leads the Eagles’ rushing attack but their running game does not stop with Smith as Spencer Walker, Kyle Eriksen and Sterling Galtin have combined for over 50 carries and 230 yards this season.

The passing attack has also been key for the Eagles this season, as Kyle Eriksen set a school record with 779 passing yards.

“They are well coached and extremely disciplined,” Snyder said about Providence Christian.

“They execute well on everything they do. They will wear your defense down and then beat you deep with a pass. We are going to have to be focused all throughout the game.”

This will be the first time GHS has played a team with record above .500 since the Pike County game.

“This is going to be one of the toughest games in our season,” linebacker Jeffery Long said about Providence Christian.

“We are going to have to play all four quarters against them if we want to win and we haven’t really had to do that in the last couple of games. It’s going to be tough, but we are all focused on ending our regular season the right way.”

A win tonight would be the Eagles’ ninth of the season, which would be the most the program has seen in the last half decade.

And while GHS has been riding its current winning streak, it is one the team does not talk about, nor notice, according to the head coach.

“It’s been great,” Snyder said about the season. “But we don’t talk about the record, or the games we won. Once we reach Monday, it’s a new week and a new game to focus on and I think that has been one of the biggest keys to this season.

“The kids have really bought into the philosophy that the other coaches and I have been telling them about focusing strictly on the task at hand and the upcoming team. Our goal at the beginning of the season was to be undefeated, and obviously, we stumbled in week two against a good Elba team but the guys have really done a good job of getting refocused and improving each and every week.”

As for what a win against a team like Providence Christian would mean to the players, junior wide receiver said it would be huge.

“We have had the right mindset all season long,” he said and it has helped a lot.

“(Providence Christian) is a good team and we are going to have to be ready to execute on offense and defense. We have worked hard this season, so I know that whatever they throw at us, we are going to be ready.”