Eagles soar:Goshen takes down rival Brantley 26-12

Published 3:00 am Saturday, October 29, 2016

In the Land of Goshen, known for the Old Barn Restaurant, and known by those near and far as the home of the Sanders’, Snyders’ and Wilkes’, Goshen High School head football coach Bart Snyder stood behind his team as the band played the Alma Mater, and you had to believe there was never a prouder moment for Snyder and his Eagles.

The scoreboard read that Goshen had just defeated Brantley 26-12, but for Snyder this was more about a great team performance, a fantastic individual performance from junior running back Zac Alford, and that if people did not respect Goshen High football before, they had better take notice now.

Alford rushed for 201 yards and scored four touchdowns, three touchdowns on the ground and hauling in one TD pass reception.

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Goshen, finishing the regular season at 7-3, will travel to Verbena next week for the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs, while Brantley, now 6-4, will advance to the playoffs in Class 1A.

“A lot of people write us off over here,” Snyder said. “We feel like sometimes we are stuck in-between two counties, and we’re forgotten. But these guys come in and work every day, and I’m going to say this – these guys have so much extra work to do and things to overcome. The closest guy that we have is 1/2 mile away, but everyone else on the team is seven miles or more away. This week we had to practice at 6 a.m. so we could go support our girls in Birmingham state volleyball tournament.

“The last two weeks, we did not play Goshen football. At New Brockton, we were very, very sick with a virus. We did not have guys that did not practice most of the week. Then we went to Pike County with a very huge obstacle in that they are a very good team. We did not stick with it and fight through it. But tonight, we came through a good week and we have grown up, in fighting through those two losses, and being focused.”

Brantley was the first to get on the board Friday night when placekicker Nathan Renfroe booted a 22-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead, but Goshen responded on a 62-yard drive, with Alford scoring his first TD on a 4-yard carry. Brian Redmon added the extra point, and the score was 7-3 Goshen with 1:28 left in the first quarter.

Senior Brantley quarterback Jacob Free, a Vanderbilt commit, found D’Andre Sinclair for a 5-yard TD reception, and with a missed extra point Brantley led 9-7 at 6:38 in the first half.

Goshen answered on a 3-yard TD run by Alford, the extra point was no good, and the Eagles led 13-9.

Renfroe kicked another field goal, this one from 25-yards out, and Goshen led 13-12 at halftime.

Neither team scored until the fourth quarter, and Goshen quarterback Brock Snyder broke the scoreless drought with a big 68-yard TD pass play to Alford over the middle, and the Eagles led 19-12.

Brantley punted on their next possession, and Alford lined up at quarterback in the Wildcat formation. On the first play from scrimmage the junior broke a 41-yard TD run, and Redmon added the extra point for the 26-12 lead with 4:45 left in the game, which Goshen held onto for the final.

Free finished the night for Brantley 17-for-38 for 233 yards and 1 TD pass, but was sacked five times by the Goshen defense.

Coach Snyder had nothing but praise for not only his players and coaches, but also the program at Brantley.

“Coach (Ashley) Kilcrease and that Brantley group is as good as any team we have played this year,” said Snyder. “Jacob Free is a great quarterback, and has made a verbal commitment to Vanderbilt. But I am extremely proud of our guys, and this win is big for the Goshen community.

“I’m proud of our guys for fighting through everything and believe in ourselves,” said Snyder. “We do our best to play the most sportsmanship that we can. We’re going to coach with intensity and ask our guys to play with intensity, and we may push the line sometimes, but my expectations are very high for each individual and coach on this team, and I expect us to play at our max every week. When we have let downs like we did the last two weeks, it is a disappointment, but I think we grew up this week.”