Goshen loses second round heartbreaker to Clarke County

Published 11:07 pm Friday, November 17, 2023

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The Goshen Eagles saw their 2023 football season come to a close in the second round of the Class 2A State Playoffs on Friday night, falling 22-15 to the Clarke County Bulldogs in a thrilling but heartbreaking defeat.

The final seconds of the game will certainly leave a bad taste in the Eagles’ mouths heading into the offseason. With just under 10 seconds remaining, Clarke County led 22-15 but Goshen had the ball inside the Bulldog 5-yard line. That’s when confusion erupted.

After Goshen quarterback Jayden McNabb scrabbled inside the five, he quickly leaped to his feet and clocked the ball to conserve time. The down marker, however, never flipped over from third to fourth down.

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McNabb’s next pass fell incomplete and the Bulldogs began celebrating, while the confused Eagles believed they still had another down. Officials, however, ruled it to be a turnover-on-downs, giving CCHS the win.

The game was a back-and-forth slugfest throughout with neither team managing to pull away from the other. After a scoreless first quarter, Goshen was able to get on the scoreboard first. After McNabb heaved a 39-yard pass to Tyler McLendon, he followed up with a 36-yarder to KJ Bristow inside the Bulldog 5-yard line. A couple of players later, Jamauri McClure scored on a 1-yard run. A two-point conversion gave Goshen an 8-0 lead with 5:20 left in the first half.

Clarke County struck right back, scoring on a 4-yard run with 4:11 left in the half. The Bulldogs’ two-point conversion tied the score 8-8. That’s how the score remained going into halftime.

Once again, the two defenses stood strong and forced a scoreless third quarter. As the fourth quarter rolled on neither team was able to find the end-zone again until Clarke County scored on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 4:40 remaining. The PAT gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game 15-8.

Goshen struck right back on the next drive with a 42-yard touchdown pass from McNabb to Szemerick Andrews with Andrews shaking a pair of would be tacklers on his way to the end zone. The PAT knotted the score at 15-15 with 4:14 left.

The Bulldogs struck again, scoring on a 1-yard run after ripping off a pair of long runs. The PAT gave Clarke County the 22-15 lead with just 1:04 remaining.

Goshen finished the game with 356 yards of offense with 213 yards passing and 143 yards rushing. Meanwhile, Clarke County rolled up 367 yards of offense with 271 yards on the ground and 96 yards passing. The Goshen defense forced three turnovers, including a turnover inside the Goshen 2-yard line and another turnover-on-downs deep in Goshen territory.

McNabb rushed for 59 yards on 14 carries along with completing 6-of-17 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown. Andrews rushed for 40 yards on six carries and also caught one pass for 42 yards and a score. McLendon caught three passes for 97 yards and McClure carried the ball 14 times for 40 yards and a touchdown.

Goshen linebacker Landon Chandler led all tacklers with 19 tackles, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, a forced fumble and a pass breakup, while Andrews earned 12 tackles, one tackle-for-loss and an interception. Kamauri Lampley recorded four tackles, one tackle-for-loss and a forced fumble, as well.