Goshen ready for rematch with G.W. Long

Published 2:49 pm Thursday, November 3, 2011

Is there any team that should be more excited about their playoff matchup than Goshen High School?

The Eagles fell to G.W. Long in the first week of the season but head coach Bart Snyder feels both teams are vastly different.

Coming into the game, Goshen could only base its preparation on information from the previous year.

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“We have a little better idea of what they are going to run,” Snyder said. “That was part of the problem. We really didn’t know what to prepare for.”

The Rebels showed that what they do best is run the football. G.W. Long played four quarters without attempting a single pass in the 48-20 victory.

“They’re doing some really good things,” Snyder said. “What we have to do is make sure we stop them.”

Long rushed for 389 yards with Zach Walker leading the way with 187 of them.

Goshen did some damage offensively as well. Running back Reginald Foster carried the ball 16 times for 125 yards and a score but Foster has been dinged up as of late and the amount of playing time he will receive is uncertain.

Foster battled a shoulder injury early in the season then tweaked his ankle. He has seen limited action in four of the past five games and did not play in the regular season finale against Providence Christian.

“The Providence game was good for us because we got to see what we could do without Foster,” said Snyder. “We knew were going to have to do some things different and we were pretty successful with it.”

Snyder feels that while G.W. Long is a formidable adversary, his players will be hyped up for their chance at redemption.

“I really think they want to go in and redeem themselves from their week one performance,” he said. “If they go in with the same attitude they had against Providence they’ll do a good job.”

One key for the Eagles will be the health and performance of their offensive line. The unit, which had only one returning starter to begin the season, has only played consecutive games together once this season.

“We are proud of our guys and the work that they’ve put into this season,” Snyder said. “With the injuries and other stuff, the offensive line has really done a good job of coming together to get the job done.”

Even with the losses and injuries, the men up front opened enough holes for Foster to allow him to rush for his second straight 1,000-yard season.

Without a healthy Foster, the Eagles still have capable offensive weapons. Quarterback Jerome Lawrence has shown improvement each week and according to his coach is more than capable of carrying the team to victory.

“Jerome has done an outstanding job at quarterback,” he said. “We’ve got several guys that have stepped up in the last four or five games and got good game experience.”

Receivers Carlton Bean and Brandon Alford have helped take some of the pressure off Lawrence and the Eagles offense with their big play capabilities.

Goshen’s defense has vastly improved since the opening week loss as well.

The 48 points scored by Long was the most allowed by the Eagles all season.

On the season, Goshen allowed just over 22 points per contest while the Rebels have scored 36.

“They’ve, obviously, gotten better at what they do and we’ve gotten better at what we do.” said Snyder. “They key is to make sure we do our job.”

Stopping Long’s big, powerful rushing attack will be the main focus of Snyder and the Eagles Friday night.

“They’ve got some size and some speed that can get to the edge,” he said. “Our guys have got to do they’re job and take care of they’re assignments to be successful.”

Goshen is 8-6 all-time against the Rebels but has never faced them in a playoff game.

This will be the Eagles fourth consecutive playoff appearance and third straight under Snyder.