Both teams from Gordon County went into their preseason scrimmage looking for something positive to carry into the regular season, but it was Gordon Central that came away with more confidence going forward and Sonoraville who has some things to figure out before they open the schedule in a couple weeks.
The Warriors played suffocating and opportunistic defense for much of the night and a gritty, grinding version of offense to earn a 28-7 victory over their Gordon County rivals on Friday night in the preseason scrimmage between the two teams at Ratner Stadium.
Gordon Central coach Cory Nix said he was very pleased with the outcome on Friday and what it took from his players to make it happen.
“As far as the game tonight, it was huge for the kids because we have pushed them so hard this spring, summer and preseason,” said Nix. “For them to come out and execute and see it pay off with success helps them greatly in this process of trying to become a winning program. They have tasted a little bit of it now, and they are addicted to that feeling. This is huge going into Game 1 next Friday at Haralson County.”
The Warriors had a lot of things to be proud of in the first half, displaying a hard-nosed, suffocating defense and a pounding, clock-churning offense which allowed them to build a 9-0 lead going into the half. The Warriors’ offense put together a long drive that spanned half of the first quarter and extended into the second quarter before kicker David Bautista converted on a 32-yard field goal to put his team up 3-0 with 10:58 left in the first half.
After the two teams punted back and forth a few times, the Gordon Central defense made the biggest play of the first half as defensive end Dawson Lackey impressively snatched a Sonoraville pass out of the air and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. After a 15-yard penalty was assessed on the extra point, it was eventually missed, but the Warriors took a 9-0 lead with 3:08 remaining in the first half.
On the next Sonoraville possession, Gordon Central came up with their second straight turnover as Christian Davis recovered a fumble at the Phoenix 25 yard line. The Warriors had a few shots at the end zone, but were unable to put it in as the teams went to the half with Gordon Central leading 9-0.
As the backups and underclassmen took over in the third quarter, the same pattern continued with the Warriors getting another turnover via a fumble recovery from Darren Coleman at the Sonoraville 30 and turned that into points a few plays later as John Victor Rainwater carried the ball in from three yards out to make it 15-0 with 7:05 remaining in the third.
Sonoraville put together their best drive of the night a few possessions later as they made several big third-down conversions, including a 33-yard pass from Cole Godfrey to Josh Kushmaul to inside the 10. Jason Galmon punched it in a few plays later on a two-yard run to make it 15-7.
Gordon Central regained the momentum in the fourth with two more touchdowns from their reserves as Bryson McGinnis ran in scores from two yards (with 6:12 remaining) and one yard (on final play of the game). Both scores were set up by Warrior fumble recoveries, including one from Zach Pardue. Sonoraville’s Kylis Harris came up with his team’s only turnover forced when he recovered a fumble at the Warriors’ 47 midway through the third quarter.
Gordon Central will look to take the momentum into the regular season as they open on the road next Friday at Haralson County at 7:30 p.m. Sonoraville will have a week off to get ready to host Model on Aug. 24 in their season opener at 7:30 p.m.
“I told the kids to enjoy this one until Monday at 7 a.m. because that is when we start getting ready for Haralson County,” said Nix. “That is time to get down to business, put your hardhat back on and go to work. We’ll get film on Haralson County this weekend and go from there. We’ll take it day by day, but I’m looking forward to next week.”