War­riors still look­ing for first win

Calhoun Times - - SPORTS WEDNESDAY - By Alex Far­rer

It’s hard to find pos­i­tives in a 43-0 loss, but the Gor­don Cen­tral War­riors did show some promise in their Re­gion 7-AA opener at Pep­perell. They will look to ex­pand on that this Fri­day when they host Chat­tooga at 7:30 p.m.

The War­riors (0-4, 0-1) are look­ing for that first win of the new era un­der first-year head coach Cory Nix, and to this point, they have shown why there is so much pos­i­tive en­ergy in the pro­gram as they go through the cul­ture change needed to turn things around. Nix said even in the loss at Pep­perell, the play­ers showed some things that are in­di­ca­tors of progress from last sea­son.

“I thought the first quar­ter, we came out and fight re­ally hard,” said Nix. “The de­fense did a great job and forced two turnovers in the first half, but we strug­gled of­fen­sively all night. We’ve got to find a way to get bet­ter and move the ball. We know we’re over moral vic­to­ries and want bet­ter re­sults, but at the end of the day, this is a re­build­ing process and you’ve got to find pos­i­tives to show how we’re get­ting bet­ter.

“The big­gest thing for me was that the kids weren’t in­tim­i­dated, and they were ready to play. Pep­perell is a great team, prob­a­bly one of the best, if not the best on our sched­ule, and I would be shocked if they didn’t win an­other re­gion ti­tle this year.”

Gor­don Cen­tral wel­comes a Chat­tooga team that is in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion this year as they are win­less at 0-4 and are very young after los­ing a deep and tal­ented se­nior class from last year’s team that made a run to the Class AA Elite Eight. They are com­ing off a tough loss in dou­ble-over­time to Coosa last Fri­day. Nix said he knows they will be aim­ing for that elu­sive first win just like his team will be on Fri­day.

“They just had a re­ally tough loss and are 0-4 like us so they are go­ing to be as hun­gry for a win as we are,” said Nix. “I know they went back to work this week, and they are very well­coached. They run a 4-3 de­fense, and to me their best play­ers are their out­side lineback­ers on that side of the ball. They try to keep you from get­ting out­side. Of­fen­sively, they are a spread team that wants to run the ball first. They have strug­gled a lit­tle on their of­fen­sive line to find con­sis­tency. They lost a ton of se­niors from last year so they are young like us and try­ing to find their iden­tity and who is go­ing to be their lead­ers on both sides of the ball.”

The War­riors have lost all five meet­ings to Chat­tooga in the series, in­clud­ing a 63-8 de­feat in Sum­merville last sea­son.

Gor­don Cen­tral must find some an­swers on the of­fen­sive side ac­cord­ing to Nix and give their de­fense some time to rest on the side­line by putting to­gether some long, pro­duc­tive drives. He said that was one of the big fo­cuses in prac­tice this week.

“Of­fen­sively, we’ve got to get some first downs and move the ball to give the de­fense a break from be­ing on the field so much,” said Nix. “We had sever- al blown as­sign­ments last week so we made it clear this week at prac­tice that we can’t have that any­more. We’ve got to make sure to ex­e­cute what we’re run­ning.

“De­fen­sively, we’ve just got to keep get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter. I think that will con­tinue to hap­pen as our young de­fense gets more ex­pe­ri­ence. We’ve just got to keep run­ning to the foot­ball and hope­fully force some turnovers. We know this is an­other great op­por­tu­nity for us this week, and I ex­pect it to be a very com­pet­i­tive game.”

The first win is com­ing at some point. Gor­don Cen­tral must con­tinue to have faith in the process and know that Nix and his staff are do­ing ev­ery­thing they can to turn things around.

This game on Fri­day will be an­other mea­sur­ing stick as Chat­tooga is a bit down from last year’s suc­cess, and Gor­don Cen­tral is on the way up. But it will likely still be a lit­tle longer be­fore the War­riors get in the win col­umn as they con­tinue to try to learn how to win.

Chat­tooga wins, 28-20.

Score: Pre­dic­tion:

File-FRANK CROWE / For the Cal­houn Times

Gor­don Cen­tral’s Bran­son Towe (24) looks for run­ning lanes as his team­mates block dur­ing last Fri­day’s game at Pep­perell.

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