Goshen ground game tramples Wilmington

By Garth Shanklin - Sports Editor
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The Goshen Warriors’ ground attack rolled up over 500 yards of rushing in a 48-28 win over Wilmington on Friday, October 5.

After forcing a punt on Wilmington’s first drive of the game, Goshen wasted no time establishing their ground attack, using a 62-yard run by Adam Slusher followed by a one-yard score by Slusher to take a 6-0 lead.

Wilmington answered later in the quarter, scoring on a one-yard touchdown run by Grant Mayer. The extra point gave the Hurricane a 7-6 lead with 2:30 left in the first quarter.

Hunter Slusher added a touchdown late in the second quarter, scoring on an 11-yard touchdown run to put the Warriors back on top 13-7.

Goshen started the second half near midfield and quickly scored again, on a third touchdown by Adam Slusher. The four-yard run put the Warriors ahead 20-7 with 9:31 left in the third quarter.

The Hurricane struck back quickly, with Brady Evans finding Mayer on a 42-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to six with 7:44 left in the third quarter.

Adam Slusher ripped off another long run for Goshen, flipping the field in the process. Victor Hill converted from 12-yards out to give the Warriors a 27-14 lead with 5:08 left in the third quarter.

Evans scored on a keeper to bring Wilmington within six, but Goshen scored again in the fourth quarter. Trevor Dato snagged a pass from Jack Webster and outran the defense, turning a third and 20 from the 47 into a 53-yard touchdown.

Goshen scored two more touchdowns, one by Slusher and the other by Webster. Wilmington’s final score came on a 39-yard touchdown reception by Mason McIntosh with 4:09 left in the game.

Head coach Ryan George said that while the team made some mistakes, they were able to come through with the victory.

“We played better offensively, defensively and on special teams, but we still fumbled the ball,” George said. “We had some self-inflicted wounds that we can’t have. We just played well, and I’m proud of our kids. We just made more plays than they did.”

The Warriors had two runners carry the ball for over 100 yards, with a third coming up just short. Adam Slusher had 268 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, while Hill recorded 117 yards and a score on 17 attempts.

Webster carried the ball six times for 95 yards and a touchdown. Hunter Slusher added 35 yards and a score on six carries.

“That was good to see,” George said. “Our offensive line has been working hard all week, and it was good to see some holes open up. [Adam] ran the ball hard. All of our backs ran the ball hard. We have to be able to do that. We still have to be able to throw the ball, and we got some key throws in there. These are all things we just have to work on and get better.”

Dato finished with two catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, Goshen’s Will Kilgore led the team with 15 tackles. Michael Figgs added 11 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Austin McClanahan had an interception, while Austin Graves added a sack.

The Warriors gave up 432 yards of offense, but George said he is fine with giving up yards as long as the team keeps opponents off the scoreboard.

“That’s what our philosophy is,” George said. “We don’t get down on them. If we give up some yards, that’s OK. Just keep them out of the end zone and tonight we were able to go down and score offensively on a lot of those possessions we had and we didn’t have to punt a lot, so that helped.”

With the win, the Warriors now turn their attention to the team’s week eight battle against Clinton-Massie. Goshen defeated the Falcons 33-31 last season, snapping Clinton-Massie’s 61-game winning streak in the league. Now that the Warriors are making the return trip to Clinton County, George said he expects this year’s matchup to be just as close.

“It’s going to be exciting again,” George said. “They came in here last year and it was one heck of a game. They’ll be ready for us, we just need to go up there, not worry about any of that, don’t inflict ourselves with wounds like we have been and take care of business. It should be a good football game.”

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By Garth Shanklin

Sports Editor