The Gordon Central High School football team didn’t win last Friday night against Southeast Whitfield, but for the first time this season they seemed to have a lot of fun.
They scored 28 points, 22 of them in the first half. They had their first lead of the season, 7-6, after Allen Garcia made the extra-point to follow their first touchdown of the game.
And they were truly in it until the fourth quarter when the home team began to pull away.
“We felt like if we could have gotten a couple of (defensive) stops and there were two 4th-and-ones, that if we had been able to convert them, that we could have won the ballgame,” Gordon Central head football coach T.J. Hamilton said. “If we pick up those two first downs, we would have kept the football and I really and truly believe the way we were moving the football that we would have scored on those two drives. But they had a running back that we just could not stop and in the end that was really the difference.”
But being competitive is the first step towards being successful and it seems on many levels that the Warriors took those first steps last Friday night.
“We definitely had some bright spots offensively,” Hamilton said. “We scored a lot of points. We ran the ball well. I thought we did a good job up front. I thought our backs ran hard and ran well.
“I thought our quarterback Payton Wilson made some plays with his feet and he threw ball well. We did a good job with our special teams, blocking three extra points and a field goal. So we made some plays and we gave ourselves a chance. It just came down to a few plays here and there and being able to get off the field defensively and we weren’t able to do that consistently.”
Senior running back Sean Gay finished with 115 all-pupose yards and scored three of his team’s four touchdowns — two rushing and one receiving.
The Warriors are now off this week, looking to reboot going into next week’s clash at Gordon Lee before they open up region play on September 17th against Fannin County at Ratner Stadium.
The coach said the open date comes at a good time.
“I think we definitely need the break because we’ve been going at it very hard now since June,” Hamilton said. “So for everybody to kind of catch their breath and hit reset, I think is a good thing. We’ve also got some kids that are injured so it’ll be good to let them heal. We’ve got some kids that are just nicked up and this will give them a chance to get their bodies right again. So I definitely think this break comes at a good time for us. Our kids have been working very hard and this will give them a chance to kind of get a fresh start and get ready for our region.”
Hamilton said they are going back to the basics on the field and in the classroom. There is extra time for teaching and they want too use it wisely.
“We are going to spend a lot of time on just the fundamentals of the game,” Hamilton said. “We’re going to spend a ton of time on tackling. That’s something we’ve simply got to do a better job at. Pursuing, our grip hold, wrapping up, all those are things that we’ve just got to keep working on and we will.
“We’re going to go back over and review everything we’ve been working on. We’re going to work on making sure we continue to line up properly. We’re going to work on our stances and starts. Our footwork. All those little things that mean so much are things we’ve got to continue working on to get better at.
“And we’re going to watch a lot of film. We’re going to take a really deep dive into looking at the first three games and correcting the mistakes that we’ve made. So we’ve got a lot of things that we’re working on this week without a game on Friday, but we want to just take things a little slow this week and try and get a lot of good work and good preparation in that will benefit us going forward.”
He said they will also continue to work on their conditioning because all 11 of their starters currently play both offense and defense.
“It is really tough for a kid to play both ways because in the third and fourth quarter, a kid can get tired. They’re in on every play and not coming off the field and that’s tough to do but we’ve been adding some extra conditioning drills into our other drills and in the games, kids are coming up to us and saying then that’s what they need to do. But we’re trying to have our most talented players on the field to give ourselves a chance to win and right now that means every one of them is playing both ways.”
Gordon Lee is 1-2 on the year and the Trojans are 1-0 in A Public Region 6 action.