Luverne bests Goshen in defensive battle

Published 11:07 pm Friday, September 4, 2015

By Michael Shipma

After nearly three quarters without a score, the Luverne Tigers blanked the Goshen High 25-0 on a hot and muggy Friday evening at Eagles Stadium.

The Eagles (0-2, 0-1 2A Region 3), who were looking to bounce back after an ugly loss against Pike County last week, stepped up their defensive intensity against the Tigers (2-1. 1-0 2A Region 3), keeping the Tigers scoreless deep into the third quarter.

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Luverne came out with a run-orientated offensive scheme that relied heavily on sophomore running back Marcus McGhee and junior running back Tyrus Jones. Combined, the duo carried the Tigers’ offense.

Senior Kendrez White got the start at quarterback for Goshen but was sidelined by an injury to his left leg after the first offensive possession of the game. He was replaced by sophomore quarterback Brock Snyder, who was able to bring a little life to the Eagles’ offense with the passing game.

The game was largely a defensive battle. Goshen forced two turnovers in the game, while Luverne’s pass rush pestered the Eagles all night.

Goshen caught a break at the 6:15 mark in the second quarter when senior linebacker Abraham Valentine fell on a muffed punt to give the Eagles the ball in Luverne territory. Penalties plagued the Eagles throughout the night, and the Eagles were forced to punt.

Another golden opportunity presented itself to the Eagles late in the first half when Snyder found sophomore running back Zachary Alford deep down the sideline, bringing up a first and goal from the two yard line.

Again, Goshen could not capitalize, and after a penalty and a sack, the Tigers took over on downs to close out the half.

“We thought we had a good one coming into this game,” said Goshen head coach Bart Snyder after the game. “We felt like we would be able to move the ball against them, and in the first half we felt like we were able to do that.”

White remained on the bench to begin the second half, as the Eagles continued to struggle with moving the ball downfield.

Snyder was replaced by White midway through the third quarter after Snyder was hit hard on an incomplete pass play. A concussion will likely keep his son on the bench for the time being, said Snyder.

On the ensuing punt, senior Quintavius Rogers broke through the line and blocked the punt from senior Caleb Spear. Rogers recovered the ball at the Goshen 28 yard line to put the Tigers in business.

The Tigers drew first blood following the turnover with a touchdown pass from Bryant to sophomore wide receiver Tai’Shawn Peagler. The extra point was blocked, however, to put Luverne on top 6-0 with 4:28 left in the third quarter.

Once again the Eagles drove down the field, only to be stopped again at the 25 yard line on an incomplete pass on fourth down.

On the ensuing possession, senior wide receiver Kendrece Simmons picked up a 58 yard reception that set up Bryant for the go-ahead TD run from two yards out. The two-point conversion following the touchdown was stopped up short to make the score 12-0 in favor of the visitors.

The second score deflated the home team, and on the ensuing Tigers’ drive, sophomore running back Marcus McGhee ran the ball from 100 yards out to put Luverne ahead 19-0.

McGhee scored again on the following drive, walking into the end zone untouched from one yard out. The ensuing extra point was wide left, making the score 25-0.

“It’s all about us,” said Snyder. “I’ve seen great strides in this team this week. We saw a much better team out on the field this week. We played a very good Luverne team.”

“We’re young in a lot of key places. But if we can stay healthy and keep pushing we’ll be fine the rest of the season.”

Goshen returns to action next Friday at home against the New Brockton Gamecocks. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.