Goshen defense steps up to lead Gladiators to first win of the season

By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider

Goshen  — The play developed midway through the fourth quarter and it appeared that it would spell heartbreak for Goshen.

Port Jervis v Goshen

Running hard, Port Jervis running back Zay Stephens appeared poised to cross the goal line to give the Raiders their first lead of the game. Enter Goshen’s Xavier McKenna, Neil Lingerman and Tom Colgan.

McKenna and Lingerman, both linebackers, hit Stephens, jarring the ball loose, and Colgan pounced on it in the end zone to help secure Goshen’s 13-8 Section 9 Class A win on Saturday.

Goshen ended a six-game losing streak against Port Jervis (3-1, 3-1 Class A) and won its first game of the season.

“It was a huge play,” said Colgan, a junior defensive back. “Because if Port Jervis scored there, who knows if we would have scored again. When you go up 13-0, if they would have come back to beat us, it would have definitely been sad. We needed this win and it is a huge momentum swing. I think we can get on a roll because our defense is playing really well.”

Port Jervis came into the game averaging 30 points and 394 yards of offense per game. However, Goshen (1-3, 1-2 Class A) shut the Raiders down, holding them to 230 total yards. The Gladiators, held scoreless in 11 of 12 quarters entering Saturday, took a 6-0 lead with 5:17 left in the first quarter on a 76-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Matt Giordano to Jared Cassel.

Port Jervis v Goshen

Giordano, who finished with 220 passing yards, connected with Max Suarez 1:40 into the second quarter on a 24-yard screen pass to make it 13-0. Port Jervis finally scored as time expired in the third quarter on a 13-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brendan Roesch. The Raiders pulled to within 13-8 on a two-point conversion by Abner Padin. Padin, the holder, took the snap on the extra point and ran the ball into the end zone.

Port Jervis appeared on the verge of sending Goshen to another heartbreaking defeat a la the Gladiators loss to rival Warwick in the Spirit Trophy game two weeks ago. A 61-yard pass from Roesch to Henry Bowers with 7:13 remaining gave Port Jervis the ball on Goshen’s 6-yard line.

On third-and-six, Stephens took a handoff inside, closing in on the goal line. At about the 1-yard line, McKenna and Lingerman hit him, sending the ball rolling into the end zone. Colgan quickly pounced on it.

McKenna also had an interception for Goshen and Tom Stephens added a pick for the Gladiators with 1:01 left at the Port Jervis 15-yard line. Goshen has allowed just 32 points over its last 10 quarters.

“The effort from our defense was what we expected from our defense all year,” Goshen coach Ed Killenberger said. “We played in this heat for all four quarters and our kids really dug in. They finally believed in what they could do and that makes me happy.”

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