Squadron down EaglesPublished 12:50am Saturday, October 19, 2013
By Ryan McCollough
Bart Snyder’s Goshen Eagles fought until the bitter end Friday night against Highland Home, but in the end the ball didn’t bounce Goshen’s way.
After pulling within three of the Flying Squadron late in the fourth quarter on a 52-yard scoring strike from Deangelo Orum to Anthony Rodgers, Goshen attempted an onsides kick.
Highland Home came out of the scrum with the football, and was able to seal the ball game away, and take a wild 28-25 win back to Crenshaw County.
“I’m proud of our kids for not quitting late,” said Snyder. “But the better team did not win this football game. We beat ourselves once again. We had an opportunity to punch a couple of scores in and we didn’t. If we do, we win this game, no question. We gave up first down plays on fourth-down-and-long twice tonight. That can’t happen.”
Goshen led 14-7 at half, but Highland Home made adjustments during the break.
In the second half, the Squadron attacked the edges of the Goshen defense more, and found yards easier to come by.
Highland Home head coach Tom Pinkston felt his team could be successful running outside.
“We saw in the first half that they stacked a couple of guys down inside,” Pinkston said. “We went back outside, and felt if we got a block on the edge, that we could get a seal. It worked for us pretty well.”
Highland Home took the lead for good on the last play of the third quarter.
Kirk Meriweather stepped in front of Goshen’s Stevie Rodgers on second-down pass attmept, and took the pick back the other way 52 yards for the score.
“Kirk made a perfect read on that pass,” Pinkston said. “He broke on it well, and took it to the house.”
With the win, Highland home keeps its chances of hosting a playoff game alive. If the Flying Squadron knocks off Elba next week, they will finish as the No. 2 seed in 2A Region 2.
Goshen still controls its own destiny in the playoff picture as well.
The Eagles need a win over winless Zion Chapel next Friday to secure the No. 4-seed, and make the AHSAA playoffs for a sixth-straight season.
“Those leaders (seniors) can gather this group together and we can still get the job done,” Snyder said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but we will not quit. We owe that to great communities of Goshen and the great people here.”
Goshen took the opening possession of the ball game 65 yards in nine plays to stroke first. Derrius Kite capped off the drive with a 3-yard scoring plunge with 7:23 to go in the first quarter on the Eagles’ bread-and-butter play, the zone read. Quarterback Deangelo Orum had two runs on the drive that totaled 31 yards, including a 14 yarder on fourth-and-four from the Flying Squadron 22. Kite’s touchdown came on the next play.
Highland Home responded quickly with a nine-play scoring drive of its own. Donte Lee broke loose for 40 yards on the third play of the drive, and set the Squadron up in Goshen territory for the first time. Later in the drive and facing fourth-and-10 from the 14, Lee hauled in a pass from quarterback William Nance to gain 11 yard, and just eke out first down at the Eagles’ 3-yard line. Christopher Wooten strolled in to the end zone from four yards out to cap the drive two plays later.
The teams would battle for field position for much of the second quarter, with Goshen getting the upper hand. The Eagles drove the ball inside the Squadron five in the middle of the second quarter, but came away empty handed as four consecutive runs left them half-a-yard short of pay dirt.
However, the Eagles would force a punt on Highland Home’s ensuing possession, and turned its next offensive drive in to points. Goshen took over at the Eagle 47, but quickly went to work. Anthony Rogers took a handoff from Orum and raced around right end, spinning and breaking tackles along the way, en route to a 41-yard carry to the 3-yard line. Kite would later score on a speed shuttle pass from Orum to give the Eagles a 14-7 lead.
Orum led the Eagles on the ground with 113 yards on 13 carries.
Kite found the end zone twice in the ball game, once rushing and once receiving.
Anthony Rogers led the Goshen defense with nine tackles.
Highland Home was led by Christopher Wooten. Wooten finsished with 79 yards rushing and one touchdown.
Highland Home hosts Elba next Friday.
Goshen travels to Jack next week to meet Zion Chapel. Kick off is set for 7 P.m. at Greene Memorial Stadium.