Eagles struggle to find rhythm on offense

Published 10:56 pm Friday, September 25, 2015

By Michael Shipma

Turnovers plagued the Goshen High School football team on Friday in a disappointing 26-0 loss to Houston Academy on Friday.

The Eagles (1-3, 1-2 2A Region 3) struggled to find any sort of offensive rhythm in the first half, turning the ball over on its first three possessions of the game. Sophomore quarterback Brock Snyder returned from a concussion injury to get the start for the Eagles, but threw a pair of interceptions early on that gave the Raiders (4-1, 3-0 2A Region 2) excellent field position.

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“Anytime you allow three turnovers in the first half, it’s never good,” head coach Bart Snyder said following the home game. “We’re a better ball team than that. Houston Academy is a good ball club, but that’s no excuse.”

The visitors also started slow offensively, failing to convert the first two turnovers into points. The Goshen defensive line held solid against the run game in the first quarter, keeping the Raiders off the scoreboard.

Senior quarterback Robert Blake was able to find some success in moving the ball through the air for the Raiders, however, setting up a two-yard touchdown run from senior running back Joseph Rice. The ensuing extra point was no good, putting Houston Academy on top 6-0 with 10:42 left in the second quarter.

Goshen looked to answer with a score of their own, and after acquiring decent field position at their own 46 yard-line started to put together a promising drive. Sophomore running back Zach Alford led the offense up the field, picking up chunks of yardage through the air as well as on the ground.

The Raiders’ defense refused to give, however, stopping Goshen on a fourth-and-three play to force the turnover on downs.

Houston Academy’s offense kicked it up a notch on the following drive, with Blake finding open receivers for big gains. The Raiders marched their way down the field, until being forced into a fourth-and-two situation from the Goshen five yard-line with 2:28 left in the half. Houston Academy went for it, and junior running back Mitchell Bess took a handoff and rumbled across the goal line for the score.

The PAT was good, and Goshen went into the locker room down 13-0.

The second half greatly resembled the first half, with the Goshen offense struggling to move the ball. While they avoided turnovers, the Eagles’ offense was unable to overcome simple mistakes such as dropped passes and busted plays.

Houston Academy took advantage of this in the third quarter, and after putting together a methodical drive, Blake scored on a two-yard run to extend the lead to 20-0 in favor of the visitors.

Blake was replaced by senior quarterback Reid Reeves late in the third quarter, and the backup found equal success leading the Raider’s offense. Houston Academy’s running and passing game controlled the tempo of the game in the final quarter, with Rice scoring his second touchdown of the night on a clever double-reverse play from 34 yards out. The PAT was no good, making the score 26-0 with 10:36 remaining in the game.

Another promising drive late in the game from Goshen was stopped again by the Raider defense, with senior linebacker Zane Ruddock catching Snyder’s third interception of the game.

“If you watch us, you can see that we’re not far off,” Snyder said.

“But we really put ourselves behind the eight ball when we make countless mistakes.”

The Eagles face another tough 2A opponent in Elba next week on Friday, Oct. 2. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.