Eagles look to finish regular season strong

Published 10:27 am Tuesday, October 24, 2023

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Last week, the Goshen Eagles (7-2, 4-2) secured a playoff spot but now want to finish off the regular season strong at home for Senior Night against the Horseshoe Bend Generals (3-5, 2-4).

Last week, Goshen dominated Lanett to capture the third seed in Class 2A, Region 3 and secure a return to the playoffs for the first time in three years.

“I think we played extremely well,” Goshen Coach Don Moore said. “Knowing the circumstances we were facing, and what we had to do and traveling that far, I think our guys were motivated and executed and it showed with their performance on the field.”

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When Moore arrived at Goshen in 2021, the Eagles were coming off their first winless season since 1972, which also snapped a 12-year playoff run. Moore’s Goshen squad won just one game in 2021 but bounced back to win six games last season, narrowly missing the playoffs.

“It’s extremely exciting to get back to the playoffs for this community, our school and our players,” Moore said. “They worked extremely hard these last few years. When I first got here the goal was to get back to this point, getting back to the playoffs where Goshen usually always was in the past and it’s an exciting thing for everyone.”

The Eagles now look to finish off the regular season strong with one final region game against Horseshoe Bend on Friday. The Eagles defeated the Generals 58-32 last season and have a 3-1 all-time record against Horseshoe Bend, winning the last three straight.

“They’re a physical football team up front, they like to run the ball,” Moore said. “They like to establish the run and we have to do a good job of stopping them. They like to control the clock, so we won’t have a whole lot of opportunities to score. When we have the ball we have to take advantage of it and not turn the ball over and hurt ourselves.”

A big key to the Goshen defense this season has been linebacker Landon Chandler, who broke the school record for tackles in a game last week with 21 tackles. So far this season, the 5-foot-10-inch, 185-pound junior has tallied 99 tackles, 16 tackles-for-loss, five sacks and one fumble recovery.

“He’s a very talented young man and is one of those guys that we weren’t real sure how good he was going to be until we kept coaching him and putting him in spots to succeed and he’s really grown into his role,” Moore said. “He loves tackling and hitting and he’s one of our most physical football layers we have. He has a nose for the football and he does extremely well for us. He’s one of our main guys on that side of the football. He’s a phenomenal young man.”

While the playoffs are already secure, Moore is emphasizing that he wants to see his team finish the regular season strong. After losing back-to-back games to Top 5 teams in Reeltown and Highland Home earlier this season, Goshen has reeled off five straight wins.

“We want to finish strong,” he flatly said. “We want to keep playing well like we have been. This is a great time to be playing well and we want to continue to do that. We don’t want to get relaxed. We want to finish the job. We’re not finished yet, we still have to go out and compete each week.”

Goshen hosts Horseshoe Bend this Friday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m.