By LEROY LAMBRIGHT
THE GOSHEN NEWS
GOSHEN — EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the game story following Goshen High School's win in the 1988 4A State Championship football game.
A great high school football team with a lot of flair and brilliance, finished right where it belongs in Indiana ... on top of the Class 4A heap.
That’s the Goshen Redskins who overcame some adversity with award-winning drives in the clutch to whip the Franklin Central Flashes 24-10 for the state title in the Hoosier Dome Saturday afternoon.
Nothing was more adverse than losing standout running back Jim Hoke at the 6:14 mark of the first quarter. Hoke, a junior who played a key role in getting the Redskins to the final game by gaining 1,038 yards and scoring 132 points, suffered a severe knee injury.
Also with four turnovers, it took a number of dramatic works to accomplish the state championship mission this crew has had on its mind for many years. Each time the chips were down, they dug a little deeper to make big, game-saving or game-turning plays in front of a big following of fans who formed a sea of red and white.
Approximately 5,000 Goshen fans attended in the huge indoor facility and their vocal support was phenomenal behind a team that gave them a lot to yell about all season and especially this day.
It is the second state football championship for Goshen, the other coming in 1978, and it evens the score with Franklin Central to whom the Redskins lost in the 1981 finale.
Somewhat stymied in the first half, the Redskins struck with an air show deluxe in the second which would make many college and pro pass attacks look bad.
Standout quarterback Rick Mirer, 6-3 (210), was 7-for-13 for 100 yards the first half ... a great half for most high school quarterbacks, but one of his two worst of the year.
In the second half he connected on 12 of 17 for 295 yards which eventually turned a crack in the Franklin Central defense into a highway to the title.
It was an even slugfest, 10-10, going into the final 8:19 of action right after senior linebacker Paul Holdeman, who had the “game of his life,” lit a spark with an interception to halt one of many Franklin Central threats at the Goshen 19.
The Redskin offense turned the spark into a fire with a precision 81-yard march in nine plays to the winning touchdown.
It was a perfectly-thrown 21-yard pass by Mirer to a wide open junior running back Shaun Beachy in the end zone.
Mirer, who was perfect in three extra-point kicks, then converted and Goshen had a 17-10 lead with 6:44 to go.
Included in the drive were passes of 16 and 21 yards to senior end Brian Weaver, runs of 10 and 7 yards by reserve sophomore tailback Bobby McLaughlin and a 6-yard run by Mirer.
Before Redskin fans could savor the fine drive and lead, the Flashes were again knocking on the touchdown door and the air got tense with the ball on the Goshen 7.
But, the Redskin defense again made a great play as linebacker Mike Moon tipped a pass that was intercepted by senior cornerback Brad Miller in the end zone and the Redskin crowd erupted.
Miller tried to run out of the end zone and was tackled at the 1 with 3:56 left and the threat of a 17-17 tie was still there.
However, senior receiving star Nick Rudolph took care of that. After one incompletion thrown out of the end zone, Mirer hit Rudolph at the 20-yard line where Rudolph split through two defenders and ran 90 yards to the Franklin Central 9 to set up the final and game-clinching TD.
McLaughlin ran for three yards before Mirer ran through a maze for the final six with 2:30 left. He then kicked the extra point for the final 24-10 lead and Redskin fans smelled a victory.
Franklin Central couldn’t get a first down in its final possession and Goshen took over at 1:43 to run out the clock.
Goshen took the opening kickoff and appeared on the way to a TD. But, with the ball at the Flashes’ 1, Mirer was dropped for a two-yard loss on an end run, halting the 72-yard drive that consumed nearly eight minutes.
Franklin Central blasted out of the hole to the Goshen 26 where Shane Frank and Moon made a tackle for loss on a fourth-and-two situation.
The Flashes, however, got the ball right back at the Goshen 29 off an interception, only the 10th of the year thrown by Rick Mirer. The Flashes advanced to the Goshen 2, but a penalty set them back and they settled for a 23-yard field goal by little, but mighty 5-6 (140) senior Brian Glesing.
The Redskins responded with a 70-yard TD drive in just seven plays with the clincher a 14-yard pass from Mirer to Rudolph with 7:48 to halftime. Mirer’s kick gave GHS a 7-3 lead. Big plays in the drive were a 14-yard pass to Moon, runs of 7 and 13 yards by McLaughlin and a 22-yard pass to Rudolph.
The Redskins had another close call after stopping the Flashes at the Goshen 38. A punt was mishandled by the Redskins which was recovered by the Flashes at the Goshen 11.
The amazing Redskin defense faced one of its roughest challenges of the season and responded with another brick-wall performance. The Flashes gained nine yards in four rushing plays with Holdeman making an outstanding stop on fourth down.
The Redskins had the ball back at 1:23 and ran out the clock to the intermission.
After a poor second half takeoff in which Mirer lost fumbles in the Skins’ first two possessions, the trend changed dramatically.
The Flashes capitalized on the second bobble and scored on the next play on a 47-yard pass from Johnson to Glesing. The kick conversion gave the Flashes a 10-7 lead at the 3:36 mark.
Goshen then moved to the Flashes’ 19 from where Mirer kicked a 36-yard field goal to knot the count at 10-10 with 1:19 left in period three.
That set the stage for the fourth-quarter showdown that swung Goshen’s way right after Holdeman’s interception.
Despite playing on a sensitive ankle that was heavily taped, Moon had a busy day. In addition to full duty on defense, he caught six passes for 121 yards. Rudolph had four for 147, Weaver four for 68, Beachy four for 46 and Corey Guilfoos one for 13.
McLaughlin led the Redskin rushing attack with 45 yards in nine carries. Hoke had five in two before being sidelined and Beachy had three in one. Mirer had a lot of positive rushing yardage, but a bunch of sacks by the hard-charging Flashes reduced his count to minus-two in 16.
Eric Kelly, a 5-10 junior who came into the game with over 1,000 yards of gain, was limited by the Redskins to 66 in 17 calls to lead the Flashes.
Glesing had 97 yards in three pass receptions.