Goshen-Zion Chapel clash this Friday

Published 9:10 am Tuesday, August 29, 2023

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The Goshen Eagles (1-0) will host the Zion Chapel Rebels (0-1) this Friday, Sept. 1, for a non-region Class 2A matchup in a Pike County vs. Coffee County showdown.

Goshen is coming off a dominating 49-22 win over Daleville in the season opener last week.

“I think we played extremely well for the first half,” GHS Coach Don Moore said. “I feel like we were really fatigued in the second half and had some cramping issues and things like that, which I think is probably to be expected with as hot as it was. Overall, there are a lot of things we have to work on and get fixed but the intensity and effort was there.”

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Goshen senior Jamauri McClure – a South Alabama commit – exploded for 258 yards and four touchdowns on just nine rushing attempts against Daleville. While his production was expected, the way he did it may have not been as obvious.

“I was a little surprised to be honest,” Moore said of McClure’s game. “At the same time, we expect that out of him. I told him before the game that 300 all purpose yards and four touchdowns is the goal and he said, ‘Yes sir, that seems pretty reasonable.’ I did not know he would try to do it in just a few touches, though. It’s always a blessing to have someone that can do that.”

Zion Chapel, meanwhile, dropped a hard-fought 16-14 loss to Pike Liberal Arts in its season opener.

Zion Chapel’s Brayden Benbow (6) brings down a Pike Lib ball carrier. (Photo by Josh Boutwell)

“We played hard but poorly,” ZCHS Coach Cody Keene said. “We made a lot of mistakes execution wise. The main thing is the effort was there but I was disappointed in the mistakes we made.

“We had plenty of opportunities to win the game on the field and take control – to take the bull by the horns – and we never did do that.”

For Zion Chapel, quarterback Mason Stuart had a big day against PLAS, rushing for 146 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries along with 132 yards and one touchdown passing.

Zion Chapel and Goshen have met 31 times in their history with the Eagles holding a 25-6 advantage over the Rebels. The two sides last met in 2022, a 46-21 Goshen win. Goshen is currently on a nine-game winning streak against ZCHS, last losing to the Rebels 23-15 in 2011.

“They’re a well-coached team,” Keene said of Goshen. “Coach Moore has done a great job since he’s gotten over there. I think this is his third year and a lot of times that’s when a coach has really put his stamp on a program in the weight room and scheme wise and how they do things and how they go about their business.”

Moore pointed to Zion Chapel’s physicality as being something his team has to be prepared for.

“They’re big and physical,” Moore said of ZCHS. “They control the clock with the offense they run. Their running back and quarterback run the ball really hard and they’re a lot like they were last year. They’ll be a tough opponent, they’re physical and lean on you and grind you down. It will be a hard-fought game.”

Zion Chapel was flagged 18 times against PLAS, which is something Keene said can’t happen again.

“We have to do our jobs and play fundamentally sound football and give them what we’ve got,” Keene said. “We have to make sure they know they’ve played a ball game on Friday night.”

Meanwhile Moore wants to see his Eagles play a complete game.

“I think we did pretty well in the first half but I’m still waiting for that complete game,” he said. “That’s what we’re talking about right now, play a complete game not just for a half or a quarter or a series. That’s what I’m looking for, a complete game all the way through. We have to have the same competitive mindset and toughness and physicality for four full quarters instead of just two or three.”

Goshen will host Zion Chapel at 7 p.m. on Friday at Eagle Stadium in Goshen.