The Raiders hadn’t lost a season opener since 2005, and advanced to the state playoffs six of the past seven years, winning two region championships in the process.
However, East Paulding seemed to lose its powerhouse status when the Raiders lost to North Paulding, 27-13, in the season opener. Winning every game since then, and now with a 4-1 record, Goddard can’t understand why his team was being doubted.
“The team is getting better every week. We beat an undefeated New Manchester 24-10. Offensively we haven’t done great, but we graduated seven quality players and [quarterback] Mitchell Webb went down against North Paulding,” said Goddard.
Webb suffered a separated shoulder against the Wolfpack and Goddard said he will return to play in the Oct. 11 game against Hiram.
Goddard said losing Webb made a difference, but turnovers were a big issue against the Wolfpack as well. Up 7-6 with five minutes left in the first half, turnovers allowed North to take a 21-7 lead just before the half.
However, Goddard said, “Neither team was an offensive juggernaut.”
While the Raiders may lack some experience on the offensive side, they have a solid defense. After four games, East had the second best defense in the region as they only gave up an average of 11 points a game – behind Allatoona with an average of 3.5 points allowed.
In the victory against New Manchester, East Paulding prevented the Jaguars from scoring at all in the first half and only allowed them a final touchdown in the fourth quarter.
With the second half of the season ahead of them, Goddard is confident in his team and the results they will produce on the field.
“The offensive line is getting better and our young backs are learning to run hard. The season is going just as I thought it would. I like the kids we have now and they’re getting better and we’re going to be fine,” said Goddard.