Gordon Central took care of business on Tuesday, shutting out Rockmart by scores of 9-0 in the boys game and 5-0 in the girls game. The Warriors remain undefeated at 5-0 while the Lady Warriors are back to .500 overall and vault into second place in Region 7-AA at 3-1.
Warriors blank Rockmart
The Warriors remain in first place at 2-0 in Region 7-AA after the nine-goal triumph.
Gordon Central has yet to surrender a goal this season.
“I have several lines of guys I want to sub,” Warriors head coach Matt Wiley said. “Rockmart’s got some athletes, but I’m proud of the guys for scoring when they did because it takes the pressure off the defense and allows me to get the younger guys in.”
GC took control of the match early as the team wasted little time in finding the back of the net. Angel Rubio opened the scoring with a right-footed shot into the left side of the goal, his first of two on the evening. From there, the Warriors would tally five more before the end of the first half as Owen Morales, Charlie Garcia, Javin Baker and Brayan Rico all found the back of the net.
“It starts at the top,” Wiley said. “We have a lot of speed at wing. And then the midfielders. I tell them you’ve got to win the ball in the midfield.”
In the second half, the Warriors continued to keep the pressure up as Oliver Cardona notched his first of the game on a shot from just inside the 18-yard box to extend the lead to 7-0.
Juan Sanchez and Yostin Reyez, the latter who captured his goal via a clearing attempt ricocheting off his face and back into the net, rounded out Gordon Central’s scoring.
“Some of the younger guys made some great passes,” Wiley said. “They all are learning very well. They’re communicating, they’re moving in space. Sometimes when you send a lot of the younger guys out there that have not played high school ball before, it’s kind of just reckless. But they really kept their composure and moved well in space.”
After starting goaltender Armando Sanchez played in goal Monday night at Pepperell, Wiley decided to give senior John Rainwater the start in goal, the first in his career. Rainwater made multiple saves during off-and-on rain to continue the 2020 scoreless streak against to an astounding 400 minutes (20x20).
“I called (John) and I said I had a thought,” Wiley said. “You played linebacker, you’re a football player, you move well in space, you can punt. You’ve got all the boxes checked for what a keeper needs to do, you just haven’t been in that role. He said ‘I’ll step in.’ We practiced a couple days with him, then I went out and bought him a jersey, put a number of it and got him some new gloves. I think he really enjoyed it. I know the first couple shots, he told me “I was a little nervous,’ but I think he got used to the pressure.”
Lady Warriors advance past winless Rockmart
The Gordon Central Lady Warriors are on a two-game winning streak after posting their second consecutive shutout 5-0 over the Rockmart Lady Jackets.
“(Rockmart) played a heavy defense early and that made it very hard for us to score, but we still found the back of the net,” Wiley said. “I think they moved the ball well. They seem to have an energy about them. They are all ready to go.”
From the get go, the Lady Warriors asserted themselves on home turf, peppering the offensive zone with multiple opportunities.
Moments after being denied on a penalty kick, Gordon Central’s Carlee Brock broke the scoreless deadlock with a shot through the 5-hole to take a 1-0 advantage.
Cora Stepp then made her presence known. With a powerful and pretty accurate kick, Stepp recorded a natural hat trick (three consecutive goals in a row) to give GC complete control of the contest. All three of her goals came from 18 or more yards out, arching the ball over Rockmart’s keeper.
“One thing I told her is that she needs to take those kind of shots,” Wiley said. “She very good about moving the ball. She’s kind of my holding midfielder because I like how she controls. I keep telling her you’re going to have those that are going to sail the net or the keeper’s going to grab. You have to keep doing it because one’s going to find the back of the net and all we need is one and the chips will fall from there.”
The Lady Warriors now only trail Model in Region 7-AA. Model defeated GC 3-2 at Model High School on Feb. 28, the only blemish so far in region competition.
“We’ve got Dade and we have Coosa next week, so we’re not out of the woods yet,” Wiley said. “We are trying to establish ourselves as a playoff contender. We have to keep that intensity and I told them, if we can get through next week like we did this week, we’re going to be cruising.”
Gordon Central returns to action on Monday, March 16, when the Dade County Wolverines make their way to Gordon County.