A runner breaks into open space for Gordon Central during their game against Woodland on Friday night.

The Gordon Central Warriors football team opened the 2020 season Friday night with a home game against 5-A Woodland, falling 14-0.

The Warriors celebrated their 12 seniors (Tre Williams, Jordan Boone, Kade Steward, Josh Wilson, Shane Davis, Joshua Beavers, David Lindsey, Carlos Escobar, Austin George, Patrick Solorio, Kendall Springfield and Zane Firle) in front of a large crowd at Ratner Stadium.

The score does not show how close the game was. The game itself was a physical ground-and-pound, defensive game. Both teams made their share of mistakes and were plagued by penalties. The Warriors had 14 penalties on the night. Gordon Central coach T.J. Hamilton spoke to how much of an impact the penalties had on the game.

“It was drive killers,” Hamilton said. “It seemed like every time we had a good play or a good drive going that we’d get three penalties in a row, but that is to be expected in the first game. You expect some of that stuff.”

The Warriors’ defense had a great night, holding the Woodland Wildcat offense to only 328 total yards on the night. However, Woodland’s defense had a good night as well.

Neither team scored until 50 seconds to go in the first half when Woodland quarterback Johnathan Thomas lobbed a pass to Asa James, who sprinted down the sideline for a 55-yard touchdown. The Wildcats tried to catch the Warriors asleep on the point after and ran a 2-point conversion but failed to convert.

Woodland added the only other score of the game with 5:34 left in the fourth as James ran for a 15-yard touchdown, part of his big rushing night (187 yards on 24 carries with a touchdown).

Despite ending up on the losing side of things, Gordon Central played their hearts out and had a good game, the coach said. They just made a few too many mistakes.

The Warriors also had to deal with the loss of senior captain Wilson to an ankle injury in the third quarter. Hamilton was happy with the way his guys handled the situation and with the play overall.

“I thought our guys played awesome even with dealing with the adversity of losing one of our senior captains, who has grown into an amazing young man,” Hamilton said. “We’re hoping that it’s nothing like we think it is. We’re going to keep him in our thoughts and held up high. We dealt with that adversity and battled and battled. We gave up a little cheap touchdown at the end. Those penalties were just rough.”

The biggest bright spot for the Gordon Central offense was the 101-yard rushing performance by Boone. The offense, as a whole, has the talent to succeed. They just need to execute. Hamilton echoed that sentiment.

“Tonight’s game – Jordan (Boone) was fantastic,” Hamilton said. “In this offense, we got two monsters in Tre (Williams) and Jordan (Boone). Both of those guys at any moment can take it and go. With the first game getting legs underneath, I think that we had a couple that we would’ve liked to have broken. We had some mental lapses that we haven’t had. You expect those things to happen in the first game.”

For Hamilton, the challenge is putting this close, emotional loss behind them and preparing to travel to play Northwest Whitfield next Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

“Next week, we’re going to come back and play another 5-A team (Northwest Whitfield),” Hamilton said. “This gets us prepared for the juggernauts in the region. We’re going to come out and prepare next week starting at 8 a.m.”

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