Goshen travels to Luverne in pivotal region clash

Published 12:25 pm Wednesday, October 11, 2023

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The Goshen Eagles (5-2, 2-2) are on the road this Friday, Oct. 13, for a Class 2A, Region 3 contest with the No. 9-ranked Luverne Tigers (6-1, 3-1).

With just three region games left on the schedule for both teams, every game becomes pivotal with playoff implications in one of the most competitive regions in 2A. The Eagles are coming off a dominant 41-0 win over Barbour County last week and have won three straight by a combined score of 116-7 with two shutouts.

“I think we performed well,” Goshen Coach Don Moore said of his Eagles’ win over Barbour County last week. “I think we came out and handled business on Homecoming and that was the goal for the week. That’s what we talked about all week and that’s what we did, we handled our business.”

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A key part of handling business for Goshen this season has included South Alabama commit Jamauri McClure, who has been one of the most dominant running backs in the state. McClure has tallied 1,029 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2023 on just 62 carries for an eye-popping 16.6 yards per carry. That number would rank second in state history if the season ended today. Earlier this season he averaged 28.7 yards per carry in a Goshen win over Daleville, which ranks 10th in state history.

Heading up the Luverne squad this season is a familiar name in the Wiregrass, and in Pike County, in veteran head coach Ed Rigby, the husband of longtime Troy University women’s basketball coach Chanda Rigby. Rigby also previously served on the staff at Goshen before becoming head coach at Elba in 2013.

Rigby went an impressive 53-12 during his five-year career at Elba, winning a state championship in 2015 and a state runner-up finish in 2014. Rigby took over at Eufaula in 2018 and went 28-18 there in four seasons before taking over at Pike Road last season. Rigby’s career coaching record is 94-36 with a state championship and every single one of his 11 teams have made it to at least the first round of the playoffs with all but four of those teams reaching at least the second round.

“They’re a really good football team,” Moore said of Luverne. “They’re very disciplined, a lot more disciplined than they have been in the past. They have a really good coaching staff and you can tell that Coach Rigby is already making an impact on that staff.

“They’re very well disciplined and that shows up on film. They play hard and they’re physical, especially with what they run on offense. We’ll have our work cut out for us, we have to go over there and play disciplined football just like they’re going to.”

Senior Myrez Gross leads the Luverne ground attack with 428 yards and seven touchdowns, while Tavion Rainey also has 391 yards and four touchdowns rushing.

Goshen trails the all-time series with Luverne 6-27 and has lost the last five consecutive games, including a 28-21 loss last season.

Moore said he wants to see his Eagles match the physicality of the Tigers.

“I want to see us go out and be focused and physical for four quarters,” Moore said. “That’s what it’s going to take (to win) and that’s our goal this week. Go out there and be focused and control what you can control and match their physicality.”

Goshen will play Luverne at 7 p.m. on Friday night at Glenn Daniel Stadium in Luverne.