Friday Night Hero: West Rowan's Eli Goodson
By Ronnie Gallagher
Eli’s Comin’ is an old Three Dog Night song from the 1970s. And it could be sung this football season by every quarterback who lines up against the West Rowan defense.
Opposite of the center is Falcon noseguard Eli Goodson.
And he’s comin.’
Goodson and his buddies on the defensive line have been downright scary so far this season and they’re the key to six wins in seven tries.
Running the football is not a viable option against West Rowan. It has given up a net 32 yards in seven outings, an average of just over 4 yards per game. North Rowan was held to minus 35. West Iredell: Minus 30. North Iredell: Minus 23. Northwest Cabarrus had the most yards rushing against West. The Trojans managed a “whopping” 46.
Coach Scott Young points to Goodson, his junior noseguard, as a big reason for the success.
“Eli is playing as well on the defensive front as anyone we have,” praised Young. “The good point is, our defense is on the verge of doing something special as far as rushing yards given up. We’ve been pretty dominant and Eli has a lot to do with it.”
The 5-foot-10, 240-pounder arrived at West as a freshman when his family moved from Virginia. The West coaches took one look at Goodson and knew his future.
“The first thing they said was, ‘defensive line,’ ” grinned Goodson.
He split time as a sophomore with Matt Sheets but came in this season ready to claim the spot for himself.
“Last year, I had a lot to learn technique-wise,” Goodson said, “but I’ve got that down pat now.”
Goodson has to be humble because the noseguard position’s challenge is to force a double-team, opening things up for the linebackers. While he has had his moments, he knows the glory usually goes to others.
“If they double-team you, one of your teammates will be free,” Goodson explained. “They’ll make a play. So just because my name’s not getting called doesn’t mean I’m not making a play.”
Goodson has formed a bond with fellow junior Chris Smith, the resident sack machine.
“He’s always overlooked because of people like Chris Smith but among the coaches and his teammates, we realize his value,” Young said.
Falcons get white “war marks,” on their blue helmets for good play, and Goodson was asked how many slashes he earned so far this season.
“My helmet’s about to be white,” he smiled.
West’s front held Carson to only 7 yards on the ground in a 48-0 win last week.
“We went in there with a purpose,” Goodson said. “They felt like they could beat us. We had to show them we were still West Rowan.”
East Rowan is next and Goodson says the same mentality applies.
“We never underestimate anybody,” he said.
Goodson’s name may not be called as many times as Smith’s on Friday but it’s OK to be the man in the trenches doing the dirty work.
“You learn to love it,” Goodson said.
East quarterbacks have watched the film. They know the stats. And they know what to expect when they go under center: