Herrin Tigers’ opponents probably couldn’t pick Jase Gosha out of a lineup.
They rarely see his face. Their most common view of Gosha is watching his familiar No. 44 heading to the end zone.
Gosha, who has rushed for 1,671 yards this year on 213 carries, scores a touchdown once every seven times he carries the ball. He has 34 rushing touchdowns on the season heading into this weekend’s quarterfinal game at Rochester.
“If you could describe him in one word, it’s powerful,” said Herrin coach Jason Karnes. “He gets stronger as the game goes on. He averages about 27 carries per game. His legs are always moving. He gets his shoulder pads down low. He’s an old school player that fits in perfectly with the offense we run.
“When he’s in that backfield and he gets the ball. If you watch him on film, he’s always leaning forward. When he falls, he’s always getting three or more yards. That’s just the way he runs. He’s powerful. He reminds me of a John Riggins and Larry Csonka.”
Gosha has scored on long runs. He has bulled his way into the end zone in short-yardage situations. And, he doesn’t mind that old-school comparison.
“There is nothing better than breaking one up the middle,” Gosha said. “It’s just a really good feeling, busting one through the tackles. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to catch the ball every once in a while, but I couldn’t imagine us running any other offense. It’s just smash-mouth football.”
Although he was a quarterback himself, Karnes has no problem with a run-oriented offense.
“I just feel if things are going well, I’m not going to try to fix it,” he said.
Both Karnes and Gosha were quick to lavish praise on the offensive line.
“It’s a whole team effort,” Karnes said.
And, Gosha said many of his yards and touchdowns are due to fullback Kyle Matusczak's blocking.
“I would like to take all the credit, but my fullback Kyle Matusczak, he’s the best,” Gosha said. “I also go out there and try to play my best for the team. The line blocks real. Well. I just run through the holes they make.”
In addition to the single season touchdown record, Gosha is also closing in on Herrin’s single season rushing mark. He needs 109 more yards to pass the 1,779 yards his brother Gavyn amassed in 2015.
“From Week 1 this summer, he came to me and said he wanted to break his brother’s record,” Karnes said. “That’s been in the back of his mind. He’s just worked very hard. He’s an all-round great young man.”
No one is more supportive of that question than Gavyn Gosha.
“He couldn’t make it to last week’s game because of a wedding,” Gosha said. “He’s actually pretty excited about it. He was texting me before and after the game how many yards I needed.”
If the Gosha name seems familiar, it should. Jase is the fourth member of the Gosha family to wear No. 44 at Herrin.
“His brother played here, his dad played here his uncle played here,” Karnes said. “I think there have been four Goshas that have worn the No. 44. When it comes down to it, they’re just one of those families that come through. I tease them, I wish we had three or four more coming through.”
Karnes said the current Gosha is one of the top three players he’s coached in 12 years at Herrin.
“And, we’ve had some pretty good ones coming through here,” he said.