Goshen and Zion Chapel square off for final Class 2A Region 3 playoff spot

Published 6:45 pm Wednesday, October 24, 2012

By Ryan McCollough and Wes Johnson

The great baseball player Yogi Berra would have a field day with this Friday night’s clash between the Goshen Eagles and Zion Chapel Rebels.

Berra, known for his wacky quotes, once used the phrase “It’s like déjà vu, all over again.” While that sounds funny, it is exactly what’s happening at the Eagles’ Nest on Friday. Just like a season ago, Zion Chapel and Goshen meet in Week Nine to determine the playoff picture for 2A Region 3.

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It is a simple task for both teams: win and get in.

The Rebels beat Goshen last year 23-15 in a game the finalized the region matchups. Zion Chapel received the two seed, and a home playoff game, while Goshen settled for the four seed and went on the road in week one of the playoffs.

This season the game has even more importance, the winner of the game will get in the playoffs while the loser stays home.

Goshen, who started the season 1-5, has won its last two games to implant themselves into the postseason hunt. The Eagles (3-5) need only win one more game to complete the miraculous turnaound.

“This is the third round of the playoffs for us,” said Goshen head coach Bart Snyder. “We know how important this game is, but we’ve can’t worry about any of that and just go our and play our game.”

Goshen’s coaching staff implemented a new philosophy following the team’s 43-7 loss to Elba on Oct. 5. For them, moving forward, each week was like a round in the playoffs. A victory kept you alive, a loss ended the season. Three weeks later, The Eagles are still very much alive.

“Our guys have done a great job this season buying into what we’ve ask them to do,” Snyder said. “Obviously, you want to win every game, but, for us, it’s about winning the next game we play. One at a time.”

Mike Waters, head coach of Zion Chapel, is well aware of the scenario.

“It is just like last year,” said Waters. “We know what we have to do, and we expect Goshen to play physical and tough because it is a must win for them as well.”

Zion Chapel has made the playoff in back-to-back seasons just twice before, in 1990-91 and 2004-05. Waters said that another trip to the playoffs would mean a lot to the team and the program.

“This group of seniors has put in a lot of effort to change things around here,” Waters said. “Another trip to the playoffs would show their hard work and prove that last year was not a fluke.”

Waters said that he has nothing but respect and admiration for Goshen head coach Bart Snyder, and even said that he considers Snider a close, personal friend.

“I have never heard anyone say a cross word about Bart,” said Waters. “He is a class act coach, family man and a good friend to me for years.”

The game will mark the 23 meeting between the school’s with Goshen holding a 16-6 advantage in the all-time series.

Though the game rounds out each team’s region schedule, both must play non-region games in Week Ten to complete the regular season. Goshen hosts Class 1A McKenzie while Zion Chapel travels to face rival Ariton.

Kickoff between Goshen and Zion Chapel is set for 7 p.m. Friday.