Goshen outlasts GW Long in wild playoff matchup
Published 12:29 am Friday, November 10, 2023
In a game of momentum swings, the Goshen Eagles held on to 61-40 win over the GW Long Rebels in an exciting Class 2A first round playoff matchup on Thursday.
Goshen scored in all three phases of the game and rode a dominant running game, that piled up nearly 500 yards, to victory. It was Goshen’s first playoff win since 2019 and the 61 points was also a school playoff record for the Eagles.
The game started off with fireworks as the two sides put up two scores in four total plays in the first quarter. GW Long stole a possession to open the game with an onside kick and then just two plays later, Preston Williams threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Brayden Whitehead to put the Rebels up 7-0 with 11:15 left in the first quarter.
Just two plays later, Goshen’s Jayden McNabb scored on an 8-yard touchdown run with 11:00 left to tie the score 7-7. Jamauri McClure’s 41-yard run set up the score. After the Goshen defense forced a three-and-out, the Rebels got a second chance as the Eagles muffed the ensuing punt. As Long drove into GHS territory, McClure made another big play with an interception. McClure then raced to a 62-yard touchdown run on the very next play to put the Eagles up 13-7 after a failed PAT with 7:39 left in the opening period.
GW Long drove into Goshen territory again but McNabb covered up a Long fumble and then Szemerick Andrews cashed in on a 47-yard touchdown run to extend the Eagle lead to 19-7 with 4:35 left in the first quarter. The PAT was no good.
On GW Long’s next drive, the Rebels attempted a fake punt deep in their own territory, but Goshen’s Landon Chandler dropped the punter for a turnover-on-downs. The Rebel defense also forced a turnover-on-downs as the first quarter came to an end.
After the Goshen defense forced a three-and-out, Tyler McLendon scooped up a punt and returned it61 yards for yet another Eagle touchdown. The PAT extended Goshen’s lead to 26-7 with 8:22 left in the first half.
After Goshen scored 26 straight points it seemed as if the Eagles would run away with the game, but GW Long had different ideas. It took just two deep passes for the Rebels to find the end zone again as Williams threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Blayne Wood to cut the Goshen lead to 26-14 with 7:21 left in the half.
The Rebels then recovered another onside kick and Willaims heaved a 32-yard touchdown pass to Whitehead to cut the Eagle lead to 26-21 with 6:01 left. Shockingly, GW Long recovered a third onside kick and the Rebels added a 41-yard field goal with 3:08 left in the half to cut the lead to 26-24.
Goshen’s special teams woes continued as an Eagle returner muffed the ensuing kickoff and then ran backwards, into the end-zone, before being dropped for a game tying safety with 3:03 left in the half. The Rebels added a 32-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Jeremiah Hairston with 1:36 left in the half to retake the lead 33-26. After Goshen threw an interception with under a minute left in the half, the Rebels attempted a 47-yard field goal as time expired, but it was wide left. Long held on to the 33-26 lead at halftime.
Long turned the ball over on downs to open the second half and a pair of Rebel personal fouls aided the Eagles on the ensuing drive. McClure capped off the drive with a 24-yard touchdown run, shedding three would-be tacklers along the way. The PAT tied the score 33-33 with 7:41 left in the third quarter.
On the next Long drive, Goshen’s Kamauri Lampley read a screen pass attempt and intercepted the pass and returned it for a touchdown to give the Eagles the lead once again 40-33 with 6:47 left in the third quarter.
After the Goshen defense forced a three-and-out, the Eagles marched on a 13-play drive that bled into the fourth quarter. McNabb capped off the drive with 5-yard touchdown run with 10:33 left in the game to extend Goshen’s lead to 47-33.
On the ensuing Long possession, the Rebels marched on a 12-play drive and eventually scored when a runner fumbled at the 1-yard line, only for Cam Richards to cover it up in the end-zone to cut the Goshen lead to 47-40 with 5:03 left.
Goshen answered right back when Andrews weaved his way through the Rebel defense for a 74-yard touchdown run with 3:51 remaining to extend the Eagle lead to 54-40. On Long’s next possession, McClure intercepted his second pass and then McNabb scored on a 20-yard run to stretch the lead out to 61-40 with 1:14 left.
With numerous kickoff mistakes earlier in the game, the Eagles managed to turn the tables as a squib kick was covered by Andrews to give Goshen the ball back again and allow GHS to run the clock out and secure the 61-40 win.
Goshen piled up 508 yards of offense with 499 yards on the ground, while Long put up 408 yards of offense with 375 yards passing. McClure tallied 164 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries along with four tackles, three tackles-for-loss, one pass breakup and two interceptions on defense.
McNabb led all rushers with 183 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries along with a fumble recovery on defense. McNabb’s rushing totals put him over 1,000 yards rushing on the season. Andrews added 152 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries. Andrews also tallied nine tackles, two sack and 2.5 tackles-for-loss. Tyler McLendon returned three punts for 79 yards and a touchdown.
Chandler led the Goshen defense with 16 tackles and four tackles-for-loss, while Lampley recorded nine tackles, two tackles-for-loss, two sacks, an interception return for a touchdown and a pass breakup.
Williams completed 21-of-33 pass attempts for 375 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions for Long, while Whitehead caught nine passes for 190 yards and two scores.
Goshen will play Clarke County in the second round of the playoffs next Friday, Nov. 17.