To reduce last season to Goshen’s 4-7 win-loss record simply doesn’t tell the whole story, head coach Bart Snyder said.
“We were in some games,” Snyder said as he prepares for his 11 th season as head coach.
The Eagles lost by a touchdown at New Brockton and to Highland Home. In those losses and others to Luverne and Georgiana, turnovers killed Goshen.
“We went from a year when we didn’t turn it over and won our close games to a year we did turn it over and found a way to lose close games,” Snyder said.
Goshen’s returning roster is also deceiving. The Eagles bring back four starters on offense and five on defense, but they played a lot more than that in games last season.
A pair of tall, rangy receivers – seniors Makel Avery and RaQuan Martin, both around 6-3, 190 – “are probably the best athletes we’ve got,” Snyder said. Both are college prospects.
The Eagles have a deep and experienced receiver corps. Two more seniors, Dakarai Pelton and Tre Dix, will be in the mix on offense and, like most of the Eagles, will also factor on the defensive side.
While Avery is the only returning starter at the position, receiver talent and depth should be a strength. DeShawne Brown and Will Snyder will also be in the rotation for playing time in the Eagles’ spread offense.
“We rotate out a lot. That’s a good thing to do,” the coach said.
Quarterback Bryan Galloway, a 5-10, 180-pound senior, is another returning starter.
“He was a back - up two years ago and got some playing time then,” Snyder said, noting the team’s historic run to the Class 2A state semifinals. “Last year he took over at quarterback. He did well, it’s just a learning curve. It’s a little bit different.
“We took last season as a building block for all of us. I feel like we’ve got some things figured out a little bit better that will help him out.”
Tamarcus Shipmon is an explosive running back who will likely lead the Eagles’ running attack.
“He’s very elusive, he’s quick,” Snyder said. “He’s got work to do to get better and play at the level we think he can get to.”
Darrian Williams, Jamarco Harris and JaKamron Rumph could all run the ball, the coach said.
“We might be a little different than what we’ve been,” Snyder said. “We’ve been very fast. We’ll still run well, just a different style of runner – more downhill guys.”
Two of the returning starters are on the offensive line – seniors Blake Bennett (5-10, 230) and Dustin McFarland (6-4, 230).
“Blake will probably play center for us,” Snyder said. “He’s worked really hard. Dustin has been traveling around the South going to different camps. There’s a lot of (college) interest in him. He’s got to continue to develop, but there’s a lot to build on.”
A key for Goshen will be replacing the other three offensive line slots. Senior Caleb Gamble, junior Hunter Shaver and sophomore Kameron Baker – who likely will start at linebacker – were the leaders going into camp.
“Caleb played an H-back position for us last year,” Snyder said. “He’s willing to move to the O-line for us. We’re excited about that. His senior leadership, stepping in to say, ‘OK, I’ll go from getting the ball to do what it takes to make the team successful.’ We’re excited about his willingness to do that.”
It is not a deep unit, but a crucial one.
“If we develop on the offensive line we feel like we can be decent,” Snyder said.
There is more experience on the defensive side, again because the Eagles rotate a lot of players there.
The secondary has three starters back in Martin, Pelton and Dix.
Avery will return at outside linebacker and Rumph returns on the defensive line.
“He’s very quick, very strong and he played very hard,” Snyder said of the 5-11, 205-pound Rumph.
The inside linebackers likely will be Baker and Williams and Avery and Gamble will be outside backers.
Bennett, McFarland and Shaver project as starters on the defensive line.
DeShawne Brown, who has been battling an injury, could earn a job in the secondary if he’s able to play, Snyder said.
Niko Tempelis and Bryce Williams will compete for the kicking duties.
Snyder said there is potential, but that can be a dangerous word.
“If it falls in place – if we stay healthy and eliminate the turnovers – I feel like we’ll be fine,” the coach said. “We’ve got to win the close ones instead of losing them – and not having the turnovers is the key there.”
EAGLES AT A GLANCE
>> Head coach: Bart Snyder (11th year at Goshen and as a head coach, 68-48)
>> 2018 record: 4-7 overall, 4-3 in Class 2A, Region 3, first round of Class 2A state playoffs
>> 2018 results: Ariton (L, 6-29); at Zion Chapel # (W, 55-6); Samson # (W, 18-0); at New Brockton # (L, 21-28); Georgiana (L, 13-30); Luverne # (L, 13-42); at Calhoun # (W, 34-0); Central (Hayneville) # (W, 41-0); Highland Home # (L, 20-27); at Brantley (L, 14-37). STATE PLAYOFFS: at Cottage Hill (L, 0-26)
>> Points scored/per game: 235/21.4
>> Points allowed/per game: 225/20.5
>> Returning offensive starters (4): QB Bryan Galloway (Sr., 5-10, 180); WR Makel Avery (Sr., 6-3, 190); OL Blake Bennett (Sr., 5-10, 230); OL Dustin McFarland (Sr., 6-4, 230)
>> Returning defensive starters (5): DL Jakameren Rumph (Sr., 5-11, 205); LB Makel Avery (Sr., 6-3, 190); DB Raquan Martin (Sr., 6-3, 190); DB Dakarai Pelton (Sr., 6-3, 190); DB Tre Dixs (Sr., 6-0, 175)
Aug. 30 at Ariton
Sept. 6 Zion Chapel #
Sept. 13 at Samson #
Sept. 20 New Brockton #
Sept. 27 at Georgiana
Oct. 4 at Luverne #
Oct. 11 Calhoun #
Oct. 18 Central Hayneville #
Oct. 25 at Highland Home #
Nov. 1 Brantley
# Denotes region games