Defense holds as Goshen advances

Published 12:35 am Saturday, November 5, 2011

Goshen defeats G.W. Long, 33-28. (Photo/Clif Lusk)

It’s said that offense sells tickets, but defense wins football games.

The Goshen Eagles proved it true Friday night in the first round of Class 2A playoff action against GW Long in Skipperville in a come-from-behind 33-28 win.

“Your back was against the wall three times,” head coach Bart Snyder told his team in the post-game huddle. Uncharacteristically for post-game, a flash of a smile crossed his face.

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“You won it with class tonight and I’m very proud … you played with class all night and that’s what we want,” he told the team and fans gathered on the field.

It was that class that lifted the Eagles from a 22-point hole just six minutes into the ball game.

The Rebels’ Zach Walker stung the Eagles first with an 87-yard opening kickoff return, then a pair of quick touchdowns and a safety put Goshen trailing by 22 points.

Then senior running back Reginald Foster scampered 59 yards for a touchdown to put the Eagles’ first points on the board. The Eagles failed to convert for two points, but the Eagle Defense would not allow another Rebel point until the fourth quarter. Stephen Rogers put the Rebels in a third-and-21 situation with a quarterback sack, forcing a punt that put the Eagles on their own 45-yard line.

It was enough to lite the fire.

Foster carried 17 times for 224 yards and four touchdown, accounting for all but 68 of Goshen’s 292 yards on the ground. Senior quarterback Jerome Lawrence went 6-for-8 for 127 yards in the air and one touchdown. Brandon Alford tagged a 73-yard pass reception for a touchdown, too.

“This is what happens when Number 21 (Foster) is healthy, and our offensive line is not the same. This is what faith and believing in yourself does for a team,” Snyder said. “We had a good game plan but had trouble getting in position in the first quarter. We got settled down and put the game plan into action.”

That game plan was compromised in the fourth quarter when the Rebels penetrated to the Eagles 8-yard line, only to see the Eagles strip the ball and take over on their own 29. The Eagles ended up punting, but a dropped fair-catch by GW Long gave the ball back to Goshen on the Rebel 35.

The Eagles would punt it away with under three minutes remaining in the game, but a wobbly punt put the Rebels first-and-ten from the Eagle 28. GW Long would pick up a first down and move it to inside the Eagle 10-yard line.

With time running down, the Eagle defense stepped into high gear, holding the Rebels on four plays and taking over on downs with 16 seconds left to play.

Lawrence would take a knee to put the Eagles into round two. They face Flomaton next week at home in the Eagles Nest.