Gordon Central coach Cory Nix

Gordon Central coach Cory Nix (left) talks to Cameron Pierce as he comes off the field during a recent game. (File-Larry Greeson, For the Calhoun Times)

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Despite a spectacular all-around effort last Friday night in front of a raucous, homecoming crowd, the Gordon Central Warriors came up just a few yards short on a two-point conversion that would have capped off a thrilling scoring drive and snagged a signature victory for the Blue and White.

That contest against the LaFayette Ramblers ended in a nail-biting 28-27 defeat. Despite the loss, the Warriors (0-3) showed flashes of chain-moving offense and tenacious defense, and built a strong foundation that will be continue to improve as Region 7-AA play arrives.

Against the Ramblers, Gauge Giddens proved he has the ability to become a game-changing factor for Gordon Central at the running back position. Giddens rushed for 163 yards on 21 touches, crossing the goal line for two touchdowns.

Giddens spearheaded an effective running committee that also included Brent Silvar, who totaled 77 yards on six carries, and Martavius Harris, who racked up 61 yards on the ground primarily from the quarterback position.

Gordon Central head coach Cory Nix said he is pleased with the progress his offensive personnel has continues to make as his first season at the helm rolls along.

“I think our offense has been doing a terrific job at putting points on the board,” Nix said. “We have to clean up some errors, but we have a couple of kids that can really tote the rock, and our offensive line has continued to get better every game. We have had different guys step up on offense each week.”

Finding room to run the offense will be significantly harder to come when the Warriors travel to Lindale to square off against Pepperell in a crucial Region 7-AA showdown.

The Dragons (1-2) are coming off a loss against local power Cedartown, but consistently boast one of the most talented rosters in the area and are riding the momentum of a 2016 Region 7-AA championship season.

Pepperell boasts a veteran offense with senior quarterback Trevor Thomas leading the charge. In the Dragons’ 39-28 non-region win over Pickens a couple of weeks ago, Thomas passed for 146 yards and rushed for 51 yards and a score.

The Gordon Central defense will also have to contend with junior running back Chris Barner, who rushed for 54 yards and a touchdown against Pickens.

“Pepperell started out with three good opponents, and they are 1-2 because they scheduled really tough competition,” Nix said. “The record isn’t an indicator of how good they are. In my opinion they are one of the top two or three teams in the region, and they are well coached all around.”

Along with the Dragons, the Warriors have also had to battle the elements this week, with the large amount of rain and wind stemming from Hurricane Irma severely limiting practice time.

“We are going to have to cram a lot due to the weather, because we have essentially missed two days of practice,” Nix said. “Our whole schedule will be pushed back, and we will probably have to have a longer practice Thursday, with our walk-through pushed to Friday morning.”

It is no doubt that Gordon Central has a challenging week ahead of them, but Nix said he believes that his squad can pull off the win if they stick to the fundamentals that the team has been nailing down since the beginning of summer practice.

“We have to play sound defense, and we can’t give up the big play,” Nix said. “Offensively, we have to focus on moving the chains, and if we are close to them coming out of halftime, I feel like the pressure will be on them, and our kids will keep fighting with a sense of belief.”

“You never know what can happen during a game like this. At the end of the day, everyone has a 0-0 record in the region. To us, this is a brand new season.”