NAPPANEE — Goshen football coach Kyle Park couldn’t contain his frustration following a 17-7 loss to NorthWood Friday night.
“I’m pissed,” Park exclaimed. “That’s what I’m feeling. I’m upset. We’re not playing well enough, offensively and defensively, at the same time to put a complete together. I got to figure out something. We’ve got to make some fixes.”
It was an inconsistent offensive performance from the RedHawks, as their only touchdown came with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Senior Roman Schrock plunged in from three yards out to produce the final score of the game.
Goshen’s offense had multiple times during the game to find the end zone, but couldn’t convert. One of those times came at the end of the first half when the RedHawks made it to the NorthWood 9-yard line. On a third-and-eight, though, Goshen quarterback Quinn Bechtel was sacked by NorthWood junior Parker Filley.
Facing a fourth-and-13, the RedHawks decided to go for it instead of kicking a field goal. Bechtel’s pass attempt fell incomplete, and the Panthers took a 7-0 lead into halftime.
Goshen then had two drives in the second half cross the NorthWood 35-yard line, only to stall. The first one ended with a Bechtel interception by NorthWood junior CJ Kuhn. The second one ended with a turnover on downs with 5:14 remaining in the game.
“Shooting ourselves in the foot; that’s what stands out to me,” said Park of the offensive struggles. “We get opportunities, and then we go backwards … that’s got to get fixed. We’re not disciplined enough, and that starts with the head coach.”
NorthWood coach Nate Andrews credited his defense for making big plays when it mattered the most.
“They made plays when they needed to most of the night until the very end; we’ve got to find a way to keep them out of the end zone and not let somebody score,” Andrews said.
The Panthers scored the only touchdown of the first half on the first play of the second quarter. Following a fumble from Schrock late in the first quarter that gave the Panthers the ball at the Goshen 31-yard line. NorthWood quarterback Kaden Lone connected on a 25-yard pass to sophomore NiTareon Tuggle, setting up a first-and-goal at the 6-yard line. Junior running back Ethan Evers then ran five yards, getting the ball to the end of the goal line as time expired in the first frame.
On the first place of the second period, Lone held onto the ball till the last second, where he’d throw a shuffle pass to Tuggle for a one-yard touchdown.
NorthWood would tack on three points in the third quarter on a 23-yard field goal from Dominic De Freitas with 4:24 to go in the third quarter.
Following Goshen’s turnover on downs with 5:14 left in the game, NorthWood took over at their own 34-yard line. After gaining two yards on their first two plays from scrimmage, Lone threw a screen pass to Tuggle on a third-and-eight to Tuggle. The sophomore escaped one tackle and sprinted down the sideline 64 yards for a score, effectively ending the game.
Goshen’s defense played well for most of the game, forcing two turnovers-on-downs on the first two NorthWood possessions of the contest. They also recorded two sacks and held a strong Panther rushing attack to less than 100 yards on the ground.
“Defense flew around; really proud of those guys,” Park said. “The effort — they’re on the field a lot. Proud of them. A lot of those guys are playing on offense, too; they’re gassed. It’s not an excuse; it’s the situation that we’re in. But they fought.”
Tuggle had three receptions for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
“We know he’s dynamic, and in a game like (Friday), he’s just waiting to go off,” Andrews said. “He’s like a bomb waiting to explode, and that’s what happens. … We’d love to get him the ball more.”
Lone unofficially finished with 252 yards passing with the two touchdown passes. He also added 33 yards rushing.
“To be honest with you, there were a lot of reads (from Lone) in the first half that we weren’t happy with,” Andrews said. “I know coach (Boonie) Boocher working with him on those things. We love him as a kid and an athlete. He’s developing as a quarterback.”
For Goshen, Bechtel finished 8-of-18 passing for 79 yards. He also had 92 yards rushing. Bechtel battled cramping issues in the fourth quarter, which prompted junior Deecon Hill to come in for part of two drives. Hill started the RedHawks scoring drive and Bechtel came in to finish it.
Goshen falls to 2-2 overall and 0-2 in Northern Lakes Conference games. They host Concord next Friday, who improved to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the NLC with a 44-0 win over Wawasee Friday night.
NorthWood is also 2-2 overall and now 1-1 in the NLC. They host Wawasee next week, who falls to 0-4 overall and 0-2 in the NLC with their loss to the Minutemen.
NORTHWOOD 17, GOSHEN 7
Goshen — 0; 0; 0; 7 — 17
NorthWood — 0; 7; 3; 7 — 7
No scoring plays
N — (11:54) NiTareon Tuggle 1 pass from Kaden Lone (Dominic De Freitas kick)
N — (4:24) De Freitas 23 kick
N — (4:07) Tuggle 64 pass from Lone (De Freitas kick)
G — (1:47) Roman Schrock 3 run (Alex Olguin-Castillo kick)