Highland Home upends Goshen in region clash

Published 10:53 pm Friday, September 8, 2023

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The Class 2A No. 7-ranked Goshen Eagles (2-1, 0-1) dropped a Class 2A, Region 3 matchup to the No. 2-ranked Highland Home Flying Squadron (2-0, 1-0) by a score of 42-21 on Friday.

In a game that was within seven points in the third quarter, the Flying Squadron scored 19 unanswered points in the second half to pull away.

Highland Home wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, cashing in a 9-play, 80-yard drive to open the game when Austin Crittenden scored on a 3-yard run. The PAT gave the Squadron a 7-0 lead with 9:09 remaining in the first quarter.

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Highland Home then recovered an onside kick and followed up with another touchdown as Jakaleb Faulk, an Auburn commit, made a leaping 25-yard touchdown catch from Brice McKenzie. The PAT extended the Squadron’s lead to 14-0 with 8:30 left in the first period.

After a quick three-and-out from the Goshen offense, the Eagles got a break when Tyler McLendon intercepted McKenzie’s pass near midfield and returned it deep into Squadron territory. The Eagles then marched inside the 10-yard line before penalties and sacks backed Goshen all the way up to its own 31-yard line where the Eagles turned the ball over on downs.

The Goshen defense then stood tall again as Szemerick Andrews forced a fumble, which was recovered by William Lampley in Highland Home territory. Still, the Eagles were unable to score points and turned the ball over on downs as the second quarter began.

Highland Home added to its points when McKenzie threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Chaney with 8:55 left in the half. The Squadron then converted a two-point try and extended the lead to 22-0.

Neither side was able to get back into scoring position until the last play of the half. Highland Home’s McKenzie heaved a Hail Mary throw, which was tipped into the air and into the arms of Highland receiver TJ Washington. The Eagles were able to bring him down at the 15-yard line, however, and Highland Home’s lead remained 22-0 at halftime.

The Eagles got a momentum boost to start the third quarter when Jamauri McClure took the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to cut the Squadron lead to 22-7. After forcing a Flying Squadron punt, Goshen scored again when Kayden McNabb cashed in a 5-yard touchdown run with 4:31 left in the third to bring the Eagles within 22-14.

The momentum shifted back to Highland Home, however, as Crittenden ripped off a 50-yard run and then scored on a 37-yard run with three minutes left in the third to extend the lead to 28-14.

As the fourth quarter began, Highland Home extended the lead to 34-14 on a 13-yard run from McKenzie. After a Goshen interception, the Squadron again extended the lead on a Tyler Chaney 72-yard run with 7:02 remaining. A two-point conversion gave the Squadron a 42-14 lead. Goshen’s Andrews scored on a 44-yard run late in the game to make the final score 42-21.

Andrews led Goshen with 93 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, while McClure rushed for 43 yards on 13 carries and returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

For Highland Home, McKenzie completed 10-of-15 passes for 140 yards and three touchdowns, while Crittenden rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns. Chaney also rushed for 131 yards on just three carries.

The Eagles will look to rebound next Friday, Sept. 15, on the road at Reeltown in another region game.