Gordon Central's Branson Towe

Gordon Central’s Branson Towe (24) looks for running lanes as his teammates block during last Friday’s game at Pepperell. (Frank Crowe, For the Calhoun Times)

FRANK CROWE

It’s hard to find positives in a 43-0 loss, but the Gordon Central Warriors did show some promise in their Region 7-AA opener at Pepperell. They will look to expand on that this Friday when they host Chattooga at 7:30 p.m.

The Warriors (0-4, 0-1) are looking for that first win of the new era under first-year head coach Cory Nix, and to this point, they have shown why there is so much positive energy in the program as they go through the culture change needed to turn things around. Nix said even in the loss at Pepperell, the players showed some things that are indicators of progress from last season.

“I thought the first quarter, we came out and fight really hard,” said Nix. “The defense did a great job and forced two turnovers in the first half, but we struggled offensively all night. We’ve got to find a way to get better and move the ball. We know we’re over moral victories and want better results, but at the end of the day, this is a rebuilding process and you’ve got to find positives to show how we’re getting better.

“The biggest thing for me was that the kids weren’t intimidated, and they were ready to play. Pepperell is a great team, probably one of the best, if not the best on our schedule, and I would be shocked if they didn’t win another region title this year.”

Gordon Central welcomes a Chattooga team that is in a similar situation this year as they are winless at 0-4 and are very young after losing a deep and talented senior class from last year’s team that made a run to the Class AA Elite Eight. They are coming off a tough loss in double-overtime to Coosa last Friday. Nix said he knows they will be aiming for that elusive first win just like his team will be on Friday.

“They just had a really tough loss and are 0-4 like us so they are going to be as hungry for a win as we are,” said Nix. “I know they went back to work this week, and they are very well-coached. They run a 4-3 defense, and to me their best players are their outside linebackers on that side of the ball. They try to keep you from getting outside. Offensively, they are a spread team that wants to run the ball first. They have struggled a little on their offensive line to find consistency. They lost a ton of seniors from last year so they are young like us and trying to find their identity and who is going to be their leaders on both sides of the ball.”

The Warriors have lost all five meetings to Chattooga in the series, including a 63-8 defeat in Summerville last season.

Gordon Central must find some answers on the offensive side according to Nix and give their defense some time to rest on the sideline by putting together some long, productive drives. He said that was one of the big focuses in practice this week.

“Offensively, we’ve got to get some first downs and move the ball to give the defense a break from being on the field so much,” said Nix. “We had several blown assignments last week so we made it clear this week at practice that we can’t have that anymore. We’ve got to make sure to execute what we’re running.

“Defensively, we’ve just got to keep getting better and better. I think that will continue to happen as our young defense gets more experience. We’ve just got to keep running to the football and hopefully force some turnovers. We know this is another great opportunity for us this week, and I expect it to be a very competitive game.”