Goshen, Zion Chapel face off with playoff berth on the line

Published 12:28 pm Friday, October 26, 2012

Roughly 52 weeks ago, Zion Chapel faced a must-win football game against Goshen. A win by the Rebels and they were in the playoffs, a loss and they would sit at home.

Fast forward to this season, and the Rebels face the same situation.

Both Goshen and Zion Chapel need wins to make the Alabama High School Athletic Association playoffs.

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“It is no doubt a big game,” said Zion Chapel head coach Mike Waters. “We both want to get in, and we both need to get in. Bart (Snyder, Goshen head coach) is a class act of a guy, and has his team playing great football lately.”

Zion Chapel last made the playoffs in back-to-back season in 2004-05, and has only done it twice in the history of the program.

Prior to last season’s 8-3 record, the Rebels only managed 12 wins in five seasons since 2005. Waters said the culture of football in Jack is different from when he took over in 2009.

“This senior class has worked very hard to change things around here,” said Waters. ”Another trip to the playoffs would prove that last year was no fluke, and reward the guys for a great job here.”

Just down Pike County Road 6, Bart Snyder and the Goshen Eagles are just happy to have a shot at the playoffs with the obstacles the team has encountered this season.

The Eagles have dealt with a variety of off the field issues, a change in offense and injuries throughout the season.

“We have had to overcome a lot this season,” said Snyder. “We still have about 45 kids still hear, and that is with all the issues from early on. We have even had to turn some kids away. The job the kids have done to get to this point shows how great this bunch is and can be.”

The Eagles shifted from a spread offense to what Snyder calls “more of a Goshen type of football.”

Goshen now uses a double wing set that looks to mash out yards on the ground.

“The offense is more of what we have run in the past,” said Snyder. “We like to run the football, and the kids have taken a liking to the new stuff and it shows.”

Snyder said he knows that Zion Chapel will want to run the football, and he expects a physical football game.

“Coach Waters has turned that play around so quick,” said Snyder. “He knows the game of football, and loves those kids a lot. He will want to establish the run game, and set the tempo. He is a great coach and great leader for the kids down there.”

The Eagles and Rebels will meet at the Eagles’ Nest at 7 p.m. on Friday night. The winner will qualify for the playoffs as the four seed, while the loser will not make it.