Eagles look to snap skid against Providence Christian

Published 8:38 pm Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two teams headed to the post-season will get a small taste of what November football is about this Thursday night, when the Goshen High School Eagles travel to face the Providence Christian School Eagles in a 2A non-region matchup. Kickoff from PCS Eagle Stadium in Dothan is set for 7 p.m.

Goshen defeated Providence, 65-28, during last year’s meeting. On Friday night, the visiting Eagles fell to Zion Chapel 23-15 while Providence earned a hard-fought 17-16 victory over crosstown rival Houston Academy to earn a spot in the state playoffs. It is the fourth time in the short six-year history of the program PCS (7-2, 5-2 in Region 3) has reached the state playoffs.

Despite last week’s loss, Goshen (5-4, 4-3 in Region 2) advances to the state playoffs for the fourth straight season. GHS head coach Bart Snyder has led the Eagles to the post-season in all three seasons as the interim and head coach.

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Thursday’s game is expected to be a battle of powerful run offenses, experienced quarterbacks and solid defensive units.

Goshen is expected to rely on the powerful running of seniors Reginald Foster and DeVandrick Merritt against Providence’s physical defensive unit. Snyder’s Eagles will also be counting on the leadership and throwing of senior Jerome Lawrence and the pass-catching ability of wide receiver Brandon Alford. The key to Goshen’s success though will be how well its young offensive line performs against the PCS defense.

Meanwhile, PCS head coach Emory Latta’s Eagles want to rely on a double-wing offense that grinds out first downs and eats up the clock in an attempt to wear down the Goshen defense using plenty of misdirection. Senior Sterling Gatlin and junior Kyle Eriksen pace a powerful rushing attack for the Eagles.

Senior tight end Alex Plagenhoef is expected to be used heavily in the PCS passing game. Plagenhoef, a former starting quarterback, kicked the game-winning field goal in last week’s one-point win over the Raiders and recorded seven tackles on defense while earning Alabama Sports Writers Association Defensive/Special Teams Player of the Week honors for October 21.

Goshen and Providence Christian each start the state playoffs next week. PCS begins next week hosting Highland Home, while Goshen travels to Skipperville for a rematch against G.W. Long.