Top 10 Clash: Goshen faces No. 5 Reeltown on the road

Published 12:28 pm Wednesday, September 13, 2023

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The Class 2A No. 10-ranked Goshen Eagles (2-1, 0-1) hit the road this Friday, Sept. 15, for a 2A, Region 3 game against the No. 5-ranked Reeltown Rebels (2-0, 1-0).

This week’s matchup is Goshen’s second consecutive game against a 2A Top 5 opponent. Last week, the Eagles dropped a home game with No. 2 Highland Home 42-21.

“I think at times we played physical and together and at other times we didn’t,” GHS Coach Don Moore said. “We didn’t play physical enough and we didn’t play together as a team enough. I think that was overall the end result, they played a lot tougher than we did all the way through and they played as a team that has been to the semifinals. They’ve played in a lot more big games than we have and it showed a little bit.”

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Despite getting down 22-0 at halftime, the Eagles came storming back in the third quarter and managed to cut the lead to 22-14 with more than four minutes remaining in the third. Then, Highland Home exploded to score 20 unanswered points and take back control of the game.

“They jumped into their ‘Double Wing’ (offense), which was good for them, and caught us off guard,” Moore said. “It’s not that we hadn’t prepared for it but their guys that typically run that (formation) weren’t in the game. So, we just didn’t get quite lined up correctly and they busted off a big run and it gave them life back and they capitalized on it.”

Meanwhile, the Rebels have been as dominant as ever to start the 2023 season. Reeltown bested Class 5A Tallassee 41-14 to open the season and then blasted LaFayette by a score of 41-6 last week.

“They’re another really good, physical football team,” Moore said of Reeltown. “They went to the quarterfinals last year and lost to BB Comer, who went to the state championship. They’re a really good, really physical team.

“They run the ‘I’ (Formation) and the ‘Wishbone’ and they’ll be downhill, right at us. We have to go match their physicality, that’s the biggest thing, and we have to play together for four full quarters. I’m still waiting on us to put it all together for four quarters. Our biggest nemesis at times is us.”

Reeltown has thrown just seven passes in two games this season, while senior running back Arthur Woods has piled up 273 yards and five touchdowns on just 11 carries. The Rebels use a plethora of other runners in their offense with eight other players with at least two carries or more.

With as spread out as Region 3 is, there are going to be at least one or two long road trips for every team in the region ever year and this game will be an 87-mile trek for the Eagles. That, though, Moore says won’t affect his team negatively.

“I don’t think it really affects us. I think it’s actually good for us a little bit at times,” he said. “They get to get some sleep a little bit (on the trip) and do their own thing for awhile. I don’t think it really hurts us.

“We went all the way to LaFayette last year – which is further than Reeltown – and performed pretty well. I don’t think it affects us as much as people would think. We have a pretty structured itinerary when we travel, so I think the kids know their routine and we handle it well.”

Reeltown holds the edge in the series 2-8 with three of those contests occurring in the playoffs. Last season Reeltown defeated Goshen 42-22 and has won each of the last five matchups with Goshen dating back to 2008. Goshen’s last win over the Rebels came in 2007, a 22-16 double overtime victory in Reeltown.

Moore emphasizes that his Eagles have to match Reeltown’s physicality and play together for a chance to win on Friday.

“We have to be physical and play together, that’s the biggest thing,” he said. “Just because something bad happens we can’t hang our head and feel like we’re out of it. We have to keep playing keep going like we did last week at times.

“We were down and came back and got a little life in us before they took back over and we just didn’t capitalize on some things. If you get a turnover, you have to take the ball and go score. We also can’t turn the ball over. You have to play really solid defense and you not turn the ball over, those are the keys, especially on the road.”

Goshen and Reeltown will kickoff at 7 p.m. on Sept. 15 at Nix-Webster-O’Neal Stadium in Reeltown.