In case you missed the Gordon Central High School football camp, it will be rescheduled.
Originally set to be held the last week of May, the annual event for young future Warriors was canceled by heavy rain and head coach T.J. Hamilton is now hoping to have his annual camp the last week of July.
“We’re going to reschedule it,” he said last week. “We don’t have the exact dates set yet, but we will have and we’ll let everyone know when it is rescheduled.”
It’s just one of the many things on the Warriors’ plate right now as they continue preparing for a season that is now just two months away.
“We feel like it will be here before you know it, so the thing we want to emphasis to the kids is to keep working. Keep working as hard as you can because the season is coming and it’s coming quick,” Hamilton said.
And that’s how he wants to team to play this fall — he wants them to just keep coming.
The team has completed two weeks of its summer workout program and Hamilton has liked what he has seen so far.
“We’ve got a veteran (coaching) staff and I feel like we’re getting a lot accomplished,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep working and stay positive and I feel like if we keep having that good work ethic and that positive attitude, we’re going to have good things happen for us.”
One thing that will change a lot for the Warriors this fall is the opposition.
With four new teams in their region and a totally different non-league slate, Hamilton said they will have to familiarize themselves with some new teams.
“We think we are playing a schedule that will give us a chance to be competitive,” he said. “The past few years we were playing 5A and 4A teams and we’re a 2A school. Those schools we were playing were much bigger than us, enrollment-wise, and that makes a difference. But this year, we got rid of a few of those teams and I think the schedule will be much more favorable for us this year. Now, we’ve still got a lot of work to do and we’ve got to be ready to play our best every week, but I am excited about the people we are going to play this year.”
The past two years, they have started the season against Woodland, which is a 5A school and then played Northwest Whitfield and Southeast Whitfield County and this year, they open with Class A Armuchee and then play Southeast Whitfield and then Coosa followed by Trion to wrap up the non-league docket.
Armuchee was a winning team last year, going 5-4 and the Indians got off to the best start in over a decade by winning their first four games of the year, but after that, as they began play in the Class A Public School league, they lost four of their last five and missed making the playoffs.
“They’ll be a good test to open against,” Hamilton said. “They had a good team last year and I think we both played a lot of the same teams last year, so I think it will be a good team for us to open against.”
The Warriors’ next two games are against Southeast Whitfield and then Coosa and those are the two teams that they came closest to beating last year, scoring 28 points against Southeast before they dropped a it-still-aches 7-6 decision to Coosa in a Week 8 game that sealed their fate as a team that would go winless.
“We moved the ball really well last year against Southeast, we just couldn’t stop their running game and they were able to put some points up against us,” Hamilton said. “Coosa was a game we had our chances, we just had some issues in the kicking game and a couple of missed plays at the end that prevented us from winning. But we were right there and we’re hoping this year, when we’re right there with a chance to win a game at the end like we had against Coosa, that we can make the plays we need to make to get over the hump. And it will be nice to have those teams at home this year. But those were two games we were definitely in last year and we feel like if we can just make some more positive plays, we have a chance to get the outcome we like this year.”
They will end the non-region schedule a week later on Friday, Sept. 9 against one of the toughest teams on the schedule — Trion, which had an excellent season in 2021, going 10-2 and coming in second in Public A Region at 4-1.
“Trion was really good last year,” Hamilton said. “They scored a lot of points. They had a very productive offense. And they were also good on defense. I think they only had two or three games where they gave up more than one touchdown, so it will be good to play a team like that going into Region because I think our Region is going to be as good as any around.”
A lot of people back up that sentiment for the new Region 7-2A, which has defending champion Fannin County, Model, and Gordon Central all coming back but now has Rockmart, Haralson County, Murray County and North Murray in it instead of Coosa, Pepperell, Dade County, and Chattooga, which have all dropped down to the Class A ranks.
“No, the (GHSA) reclassification committee didn’t do us any favors because all the new teams in our Region are very good,” Hamilton said. “But it’s a challenge we’re looking forward to. We’re going to have a younger team this year with a lot of tenth and 11th-graders as starters, so I think playing those good teams will only help us get better.
“But there’s no question that when you have Fannin and Rockmart and Haralson and Model and the Murray County schools in the same Region, you’ve got a strong region. But we’re excited too see where we stand against those quality teams.”
The Warriors will have one scrimmage this August instead of two as they will travel to Coahulla Creek to take on the Colts after hosting them last year in a preseason workout at Ratner Stadium.
“We feel like it’s a tough schedule but one we can compete with, so we’re excited about it,” Hamilton said.
The other big difference between last year’s schedule and this year’s is also the travel involved as the Warriors play home games in Weeks Two and Three, whereas in 2021, they opened the season with four straight road games and didn’t line up in front of the home folks at Ratner until the middle of September.
So there is a lot on the hearts and minds of Gordon Central football nation and first and foremost is getting back to winning as many as possible.