Gooding Gears Up For Semifinal Battle With Shelley


By Ngozi Ekeledo

When Shelley comes into Gooding tomorrow night, both teams will come in with the same record: 10-0. Undefeated.

Despite that fact, Gooding Head Coach Cam Andersen said the Senators are playing as the underdog. They've been pegged with the role, and the team is ready to play some physical football and provide an entertaining game.

"It's a big game. It's a big game for the town," Andersen said. "Shelley's a good opponent--probably the best team in the state, and we love the challenge to go against something like that."

And what better stage to put on a grand performance than that of Friday Night Football? The atmosphere can define a young player with the bright lights and sounds of helmets crashing in battle.

For Gooding, tomorrow isn't just any Friday night.

"We gotta play for quarters of football, make sure we play as a team and make sure we hit them in the mouth first," said junior two-way lineman Cole McGinnis.

Anyone thinking of this 3A semifinal showdown needs to think of David and Goliath. The Shelley Russets? Well, they're the definition of Goliath.

"I don't think I've even seen a prediction that has us within forty points," Andersen admitted.

With athletes like McKay Cannon and quarterback Chad Leckington, the Russets have absolutely run through opponents and put on mercy rule massacres.

But perhaps Shelley will finally meet its match in Gooding.

After being plagued with injuries all season, the Senators will finally have every player dressed out and ready to play tomorrow night.
"It's the first time [that's happened] all season," Andersen said. "We get to put [Shelley] on our home field, and we like that it's going to be cold and snowy and wet--love all that. It'll be an old school football game."

For the players, there's a different motivation.

"I'm looking forward to the competition we get to play. [You] always gotta challenge yourself and make yourself better. Their offensive line is really good and so is their defense. Our line has to be prepared."
This one isn't about X's and O's because the game plan for Gooding is simple.

"We plan to come out and hit the bully in the mouth," Andersen said.

"Either they stand up and show why they're the bully or they lay down, and we get a good football game out of it."

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