The Gordon Central High School football team was a young bunch this year with freshmen and sophomores all over the field.
And some of those young guys put together good numbers on both sides of the ball for a team that has everyone coming back next year and is looking to be bigger, stronger and faster.
Sophomore running back/outside linebacker Matthew Hammock had an excellent year for the Warriors, despite not being healthy for most of it. He was sixth in the really-strong Region 7-2A in all-purpose yards offensively with 479.
Hammock, who had a 96-yard touchdown run in the last game of the year against Murray County, had 382 yards rushing this year. He gained 87 in the season-opener against Armuchee and allowed the team to establish ball-control but then got hurt against Southeast Whitfield and never looked like himself again until the finale against Murray County.
He also averaged 16 yards per catch on his six receptions.
Hammock led the team in rushing as the Warriors had just a little more than 800 yards combined as a team.
Fellow sophomore Jayden Sibley was the second-leading rusher on the team with 188 yards on just 44 carries for an average of over four yards per attempt.
Sibley, along with junior Braxton Carnes, tied for team-high honors in touchdowns with three apiece and Hammock was second with two more.
Carnes finished in the top 10 in all-purpose yardage, securing 449 this year on 223 yards catching the ball and 131 more rushing and the rest passing when he played quarterback.
Senior quarterback Peyton Wilson, who was limited to just six games and didn’t play the last month of the season, was still fifth in the league in passing with 482 yards and touchdown passes. He was 30-of-58 on the season throwing the ball with three touchdown tosses.
Carnes and freshman Trey Bryant filled in for Wilson after Carnes had been one of Wilson’s top receivers before he went under center. Bryant didn’t play much, but threw the ball very well in his limited action and had nearly 200 yards passing himself.
The Warriors did have a few pass catchers with an excellent average gain per catch.
Carnes had 11 receptions for 223 yards or just over 20 yards per grab and he did take three of those to the end zone.
Sibley had an norm of over13 yards per catch on his 15 catches and he also took three of those to paydirt.
Junior tight end Peyton Chastain averaged 12.3 yards per catch and he strolled into the end zone on two of his eight catches.
Senior Blake Broome averaged 19.2 yards a catch and Hammock had a 16.1 norm so the blue-and-silver made some big plays in the passing game this past season.
One statistic the Warriors did lead the league in was punts with Carnes having to do it 45 times this year. He averaged 32 yards net on each boot.
Defensively, senior Skylar Hill, who was a four-year starter for the Warriors and overcame a broken ankle last summer to soldier through his last year, led the team in tackles with 69 and Hammock, again not playing full-time, was second with 49 more.
Hill averaged 9.9 rundowns in the seven games he played in with 43 solos and 26 assists.
Hammock had over 5.5 in the nine games he played in and in a few of those he wasn’t on the field very long. He had 29 tackles by himself and assisted on 20 more and he also had four tackles for loss and two quarterback sacks.
Sibley was third on the team in tackles with 47 and Chastain was fourth with 34. Sibley averaged 4.7 each week with 29 solos and 18 assists and Chastain was at just under four per game, making nine solo tackles and 25 assisted.
Sibley was third in the 7-2A in interceptions with three this year.
Chastain, Carnes, Sibley, and Hammock will be back next year and all have two years of varsity experience under their belts.