The Gordon Central Warriors’ football team traveled to Tunnel Hill on Friday night to take on the Northwest Whitfield Bruins and left with a loss, as the Bruins got the 34-13 victory.
Northwest Whitfield opened the scoring with 5:13 left in the first quarter, as quarterback Owen Brooker hit Matt Redmond in the end zone for a three-yard touchdown pass. Brooker had a nice night as he threw for 184 yards on 18-of-30 passing for five touchdowns with two interceptions.
The Warriors answered back on the next possession. Gordon Central running back Jordan Boone took a handoff, burst up the middle and carried Northwest defenders into the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown run that capped a spectacular 14-play drive that took over six minutes off the clock to make it 7-7.
The Bruins answered back on their very next offensive play as Brooker hit Ray Morrison on a slant over the middle. Morrison then raced past Warrior defenders for a 64-yard touchdown. Northwest added another touchdown with 3:39 left in the second quarter as Brooker threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Redmond. That was the final score of the half, and the Bruins took a 21-7 lead into the locker room.
A tense moment happened for the Warriors late in the first half as starting quarterback Tre Williams fell to the ground with an injury and had to be helped off the field. Sean Gray came in and played quarterback the rest of the game, but Gordon Central Coach T.J. Hamilton did not think the injury was too serious and is expecting Williams to be back next Friday.
“I think he (Williams) is going to be OK for next week,” Hamilton said. “He just kind of tweaked his ankle. I pulled the plug on him. We got some really good play from Sean Gray that second half. He did fantastic, but I’m expecting Tre (Williams) to be back next week.”
To start the second half, Northwest came out, marched down the field and put another touchdown on the board. Brooker threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Preston Nealey to extend the Bruins’ lead.
The Gordon Central offense did not seem to skip a beat with Gray at quarterback, as he led the Warriors on a well-executed, 10-play drive that lasted over seven minutes. Boone scored his second rushing touchdown of the night as he bulldozed into the end zone from two yards out. The subsequent extra point by Gordon Central was blocked, which kept the score at 28-13.
On Northwest’s next offensive possession, the Warriors’ defense came up with a huge play as Kade Steward intercepted a pass deep in his own territory and returned it to the Gordon Central 43-yard line. The momentum was back on the Warriors’ side, as they were a touchdown away from making it a one-possession game.
Unfortunately for Gordon Central, a bad snap on third-and-one from inside Northwest territory made it fourth-and-15. The Warriors lined up in punt formation, but the Gordon Central punter decided to try to run for the first down and was stopped after a 2-yard gain.
That proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Warriors. Northwest added one more touchdown as Brooker threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Brayden Morrison. The point after was blocked, but it was little too late for Gordon Central as they lost 34-13 on the road.
Despite the loss, Hamilton was not completely discouraged, as the Warriors made it closer than the scoreboard showed and cut down on some mistakes from last week.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Hamilton said. “I know it was 34-13, but if you watch the game, we were hanging in there. We were two passes away and a missed read away from it being closer. It should’ve been 34-28, but those things happen in a game. We fixed some of our mistakes. We didn’t have as many penalties tonight, which was great. Overall, I thought we played very well.”
The biggest bright spot for the Gordon Central offense was once again the play of workhorse running back Boone. Boone rushed for 90 yards on 24 carries and scored the aforementioned two touchdowns. Hamilton complemented him yet again.
“He (Boone) got into the end zone twice, so that was huge for us,” Hamilton said. “We’re just going to keep feeding him the rock. When he gets it, he’s special. He was right at a hundred yards. He did a fantastic job tonight again. Next week, (I’m) expecting more of the same from him.”
The Warriors will put this behind them and start preparations for their home game against Southeast Whitfield next Friday night. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.