Interceptions prove costly for Goshen

Published 11:00 pm Friday, September 11, 2015

Goshen’s DaQuan Foster lays out as he attempts to stop a New Brockton running play on Friday. Turnovers and big plays worked against the Eagles, as they fell to New Brockton 42-15.

Goshen’s DaQuan Foster lays out as he attempts to stop a New Brockton running play on Friday. Turnovers and big plays worked against the Eagles, as they fell to New Brockton 42-15.

By Michael Shipma

The run game and turnovers were the deciding factors on a rainy evening as the Goshen Eagles were defeated at home Friday by the New Brockton Gamecocks, 42-15.

“We came out and made a couple of big mistakes,” head coach Bart Snyder said following the game. “We gave up 14 points off interceptions and you just can’t do that. We’ve got to be better than that.”

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Much like the Eagles’ loss the previous week against Luverne, the game initially showed itself to be a battle of the defenses. For both offenses, the ground game was stagnant, as both defensive lines proved stalwart in the opening quarter.

However, it wouldn’t take long in the second quarter for the offenses to come to life.

Eighth-grade kicker Shawn Macias put away a field goal following a 63-yard catch and run by junior receiver Brian Redmon. The 34-yard kick put Goshen (0-3, 0-2 2A Region 3) up 3-0 early in the second quarter.

It was the first points scored this season against 2A heavyweight New Brockton.

The 2nd-ranked Gamecocks (3-0, 2-0 2A Region 3) were quick to respond, however, with junior running back Jahari Brown scoring on a 66-yard scamper.

The Eagles bounced back with a drive of their own that showed promise, but were stopped in their tracks by a brilliant, one-handed interception by junior defensive back Clayton Kelley. The interception was returned for a score.

Despite the momentum swing, Goshen refused to be shut down on their next drive, as sophomore running back Zachary Alford broke tackles to score on a 65-yard run. The ensuing extra point was blocked, however, making the score 14-9 in favor of New Brockton.

“Zach is just a winner all-in-all,” said Snyder. “The effort that he gave spears the other players out there to do the same.”

The two teams continued to trade punches, and Goshen looked to have gained the upper hand after forcing a turnover on downs by the Gamecocks deep in Eagle territory.

The Eagles’ defense continued to shine, forcing another turnover on downs deep in their own territory just prior to halftime.

It was a different game in the second half, with New Brockton halting the Eagles on their opening possession of the second half. Senior cornerback Grant Griffin hauled in senior quarterback Kendrez Kitchens’ second interception of the night and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown. Griffin finished the game with two interceptions.

That play proved a turning point in the game, as the Eagles’ lack of depth due to injuries began to show. Dual roles for key players on the Goshen side started to take its toll in the third quarter. The worn out defense was unable to stop Brown and the Gamecock run game.

New Brockton ran the ball at will in the second half, leading to a 4-yard touchdown run from sophomore running back Cameron Cook to make the scoreboard read 28-9 with 3:58 left in the third quarter.

The weather became a factor as well at the start of the fourth quarter, as rain forced both teams to stick to the run game in the final 15 minutes.

Sophomore wide receiver Azavion Rogers narrowed the gap to 42-15 with an 11-yard touchdown reception late in the game, but it was too little too late for Goshen.

The Eagles have yet to achieve their elusive first win as they move into week four. “We’re going to be fine,” said Snyder. “We’ve just played four very really good ball teams, but we’re going to steer the ship right.”

The Eagles will have the opportunity to do just that as they return to action on Friday, Sept. 18, when they play at Calhoun High School. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.