HERRIN — Jase Gosha rushed for 164 yards and five touchdowns to lead Herrin to a 63-28 victory over Paris on Saturday in the first round of the Class 4A football playoffs.
It was a close first half, but Herrin took over after the intermission. Paris tied the game at 21-all with 5:45 left in the second quarter. Herrin scored 42 straight points after that.
“I was really pleased with the offensive effort today, and I thought we played really well up front,” said Herrin coach Jason Karnes. “We made some calls at the line of scrimmage and got off the ball really well. We maintained our blocks, and the backs ran well. To be able to advance at this time of year, you’ve got to be able to run the ball and play some defense. Early on, I think we were kind of going through the motions defensively.”
Brody Spencer ran for a 3-yard touchdown to give Paris a 14-7 edge in the first quarter. Gosha ran for a pair of touchdowns, and Herrin claimed a 21-14 advantage.
Herrin had a tough time stopping Paris in the opening half. Spencer added a 1-yard touchdown run to knot the ball game at 21.
But on the first play of Herrin’s next possession, Tate Johnson scampered 62 yards for a touchdown. That gave Herrin a lead it would not relinquish.
“Overall, I’m not displeased at all with the defense,” Karnes said. “Paris presented some problems for us. Their quarterback made some good throws, but we made some defensive adjustments.”
Herrin had three running backs rush for more than 100 yards in this contest. Johnson ran for 119 yards and two scores. Jackson Yates rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns as well.
“I think that’s probably the first time in my 12 years to have that,” Karnes said. “That is a credit to the guys up front. To have three 100-yard rushers, that’s special.”
Herrin set a couple of school records in the game. Gosha’s five touchdowns puts him at 31 for the year, which is a single-season record.
“He just knocked Chase Merrill off,” Karnes said. “He was in some pain with his injury. But today he was all guts and heart. I’m very happy for him. He works hard.”
Johnson picked off his eighth pass of the season, which is also a school record.
Herrin improved to 9-1 and hosts Tolono Unity in the second round of the playoffs.