GC strug­gles to keep up with Lions

Calhoun Times - - SPORTS SATURDAY - By Tyler Ser­ritt

The Gor­don Cen­tral War­riors strug­gled to find an­swers to the dy­namic aerial at­tack of the Chris­tian Her­itage Lions dur­ing a 35-0 loss in its home opener on Fri­day night.

The War­riors (0-2) were vic­tim­ized early and often by the po­tent duo of Lions’ quar­ter­back Matthew Neff and wide re­ceiver Zach Gen­try. In sync from the open­ing whis­tle, the pair set the tone early by link­ing up for an 11-yard touch­down, with Gen­try snag­ging a pass over the out­stretched arms of a Gor­don Cen­tral cor­ner­back and coast­ing over the goal line to cap off a swift three-minute, nine-play open­ing drive.

Af­ter Gor­don Cen­tral re­warded the Lions quin­tes­sen­tial field po­si­tion at the War­riors’ own five yard line, Neff bought time by rolling out to his right and toss­ing it to Gen­try, who made an ac­ro­batic grab while keep­ing his feet planted on the edge of the end zone to cap­ture a 14-0 ad­van­tage as the first quar­ter drew to a close.

The Lions main­tained firm con­trol in the sec­ond quar­ter, as Neff di­aled up per­haps his best throw of the evening on a 41-yard dime to wide re­ceiver Evan Lester. Run­ning back Gage Leonard promptly cap­i­tal­ized, slic­ing through the de­fense un­touched for a 15-yard rushing score to push the mar­gin to 21-0.

The War­riors once again pro­vided al­lowed Chris­tian Her­itage to flip the field on the next pos­ses­sion as quar­ter­back Brady Lackey tossed an in­ter­cep­tion to cor­ner­back Will Brum­low near mid­field. Ever the op­por­tunists, Neff scram­bled and launched the ball to Gen­try, who had nav­i­gated through the Gor­don Cen­tral sec­ondary for a 28-yard touch­down and a 28-0 lead head­ing into the half­time locker room.

Al­though the sec­ond half proved largely quiet for both squads, Neff put the game firmly out of reach near the sev­en­minute mark of the third quar­ter by find­ing Lester in the painted area for a 10-yard pass­ing score to reach the fi­nal 35-0 tally.

Neff fin­ished the con­test with 171 yards through the air. Gen­try was the big­gest ben­e­fi­ciary with 96 re­ceiv­ing yards. On the ground, Leonard rum­bled for 47 yards, while run­ning back Ethan Smith pitched in 36 rushing yards.

On of­fense, the War­riors had is­sues han­dling the pres­sure and pen­e­tra­tion of the Chris­tian Her­itage de­fen­sive front, which stalled out the run­ning game and pre­vented Lackey from get­ting com­fort­able in the pocket early.

Nel­son Gravitt and Cam Pierce operated as Gor­don Cen­tral’s most ex­plo­sive of­fen­sive per­son­nel. Gravitt ac­cu­mu­lated 12 yards on the ground and com­pleted a six yard pass to wide re­ceiver Josh Wil­son af­ter tak­ing over sig­nal-call­ing du­ties in the sec­ond half. Pierce pieced to­gether a cou­ple nice runs in the first half to com­pile 10 rushing yards on limited touches.

The War­riors will look to get the sea­son back on track next Fri­day when the team trav­els to Gilmer County (0-2) at 7:30 p.m.

Pho­tos by FRANK CROWE / For the Cal­houn Times

( ABOVE) Gor­don Cen­tral’s Nel­son Gravitt (1) tries to fend off a Chris­tian Her­itage de­fender dur­ing the first half of Fri­day’s game. ( BE­LOW) Gor­don Cen­tral’s Jor­dan Jac­ques (21) pres­sures Chris­tian Her­itage quar­ter­back Matthew Neff.

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