It was senior night at Ratner Stadium in Calhoun as the Gordon Central Warriors played host to the Rockmart Yellow Jackets. The Warriors played the Yellow Jackets closely most of the first half, but Rockmart pulled away in the second half thanks to an offensive outburst in the third quarter to win 41-0.
With the game result, the Yellow Jackets (7-2, 6-0) clinched the Region 7-AA championship, and The Warriors fell to 2-7 on the season (2-4 in region play). Even though it was a rough night filled with miscues for the home team and ejections on both sides, Gordon Central running back Gauge Giddens distracted Warrior fans as he had a solid night individually. Giddens rushed for 118 yards on 15 carries with an average of 7.9 yards per touch.
His Warrior side held their own early in the game as both sides appeared neck-and-neck at first. The Gordon Central offense had no problem moving the ball in the first quarter, but unfortunately, their drives were cut short by turnovers in Rockmart territory. Rockmart capitalized off the second turnover, as Zabrion Whatley scored on a 17-yard touchdown run with a little over two minutes left in the opening quarter.
The Warriors’ defense was pretty solid in the first half, but they were burnt on big plays. One of those plays was the Yellow Jackets’ second touchdown of the game, which was a 67-yard touchdown scamper by Markus Smith. Rockmart added a third touchdown in the first half, when Dylan Bailey threw a 56-yard scoring strike to Juke Boozer who took it to the house. Rockmart took a 21-0 lead heading into halftime.
Rockmart’s offense came out on the field for the first drive of the second half and gave the Warriors hope as they coughed up the football. However, Gordon Central, again, failed to capitalize as the field goal they were forced to kick was blocked.
The Yellow Jackets promptly turned around and put up 20 points in the quarter (one missed PAT). The first was via Ant Lester, who ran it in from one-yard out. The second was an 18-yard touchdown burst by Whatley, and the third was a 39-yard quarterback sneak by Bailey.
Neither team scored in the final quarter, and the game ended with the score of 41-0. Gordon Central head coach Cory Nix said he was upset about his team’s lack of execution at times during the game.
“We’ve got to execute when we get the opportunities,” said Nix. “In the first quarter, we had the opportunity to go up on them first, and we just didn’t execute at times. We didn’t catch the ball, had mental errors or whatever it is. We’ve just got to continue to grind as a program and get better, but next week, just like I told them, we’ve got one more week together as a family. We’re going to go out there and do our best to win it and let the seniors go out on a high note.”
The Warriors travel to Rome next Friday night as they will visit the Coosa Eagles.