MUST WIN GAME: Goshen Eagles hope to secure playoff berth with win over rival Zion Chapel Friday night
Published 3:30 am Thursday, October 22, 2015
The mindset of the Goshen Eagles all week long has been “win and we’re in.” To get in the playoffs the Eagles will have to defeat the rival Zion Chapel Rebels Friday night in Jack.
The Eagles (3-3, 3-5) currently sit in a tie with Highland Home for fourth place in the 2A Region three standings. A win against rival Zion Chapel this week, coupled with a Highland Home loss to the number one team in the state Elba, would vault the Eagles into the playoffs.
“Our guys have been working as we have done all season long,” said Eagles head coach Bart Snyder. “Our enthusiasm has been much better and we have been working hard at being the best that we can be.”
After the Eagles started the season by losing their first three games by a combined score of 120-0 the Eagles have won three of their last five ball games.
“We knew that we had to get better each game we played if we want to be the team that we set out to be,” Snyder said. “This has been a season where we had to have some time to develop and put players into positions that they didn’t start the season off with. Our guys have bought into it, and it’s been working.”
Since being outscored 120-0 to begin the season the Eagles have been more efficient on the offensive side of the ball. Apart from scoring just seven points against Elba and Houston Academy, the Eagles have scored 36 in a win against Calhoun, 40 against Central Hayneville and 30 against Highland Home.
“We reminded them that the game that you have next is the game that still has to be played, it’s not the one that has been played” Snyder said. “This week has been all about Zion Chapel. That’s what we preach to our kids, and they seem willing to do it.”
The Eagles’ success over the last two weeks has ensured that their playoff lives are in their own hands. All they need to worry about is accomplishing the task at hand.
“That is what you play for,” Snyder said. “We would like to be 8-0, that would be great, but that’s not where we are. It is has worked out to where we can make the playoffs. If we do right we can make the playoffs again.”
Zion Chapel (2-4, 2-6) is one team that still can make the playoffs but they will need help with the tiebreaker scenario. Like the Eagles, the Rebels have played their best ball as of late.
“Coach (Bradley) Bowers has his guys very sound,” Snyder said. “They execute and work extremely hard. We need to make sure that we don’t allow them chances to gain any momentum.”
Bowers and the Rebels will rely on a run heavy offense that likes to wear down opponents in the second half.
“We work on our endurance every year, every week to get that taken care,” Snyder said. “That has been our weakness. They put themselves in position to win in the second half.”
The Eagles play in a region full of good football teams. Six of the eight teams are in position to make the playoffs. Throw in the number one team in the state and you have one of the toughest regions in class 2A.
“With teams like Highland Home, Zion Chapel and us fighting for a spot, people say ‘oh you’re just battling to get in,’” Snyder said. “When you have six pretty sound teams, it’s tough. It’s not a walk in the park when you are in our region.”
Kick off between the Eagles and Rebels is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Greene Memorial Stadium.