The Warriors, who coasted through their non-region schedule and now sit at 3-0, open up play in Region 5-AAA with arguably one of the best two teams in the region, Ringgold. (Cartersville is also considered a favorite.)
Gordon Central has had an easy time of it in their first three games of the season, defeating Coosa, Southeast Whitfield and Murray County with ease.
But things are about to get a lot tougher when Ringgold rolls into Ratner Stadium on Friday night. The Tigers are 2-1, with their only loss coming to a very talented Dalton team on Aug. 24, 21-19.
Gordon Central coach Chad Fisher said his team has started just like they wanted to, but know that Friday will bring a new and very tough challenge.
“Obviously, our goal was to be 3-0 going into the region schedule, and we’ve been able to accomplish that,” said Fisher. “Any time you have a winning record during the season, it’s a good thing, and we’ve been playing really well in the first few games.”
“But now we get to face a very good Ringgold team, and the kids are excited about that.”
Gordon Central quarterback MJ Reynolds is off to a great start in his senior season, as he has directed the offense to 133 points in their first three games with the help of receivers Tyshaun Clemmons, Chandler Curtis and Bryan Brookshire and tight end DJ Prather.
The defense has also been dominant, allowing only seven points in the first three weeks combined, as they shut out both Coosa and Murray County.
Fisher said Ringgold isn’t the team he would’ve chosen to open the region with, but the game will tell him a lot about where they are at this point.
“I think it’s an extremely good test for us,” said Fisher.
“If we are fortunate enough to hang in there with them or win this game, it will give us a lot of confidence going forward in the region schedule.”
Fisher said Ringgold has a very good controlled running game and do a great job up front of controlling the line of scrimmage.
“They are going to run the ball and take time off the clock to try to limit our amound of touches offensively,” said Fisher. “And they are coached well, they play hard and they are physical so we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
The Warriors trail the all-time series, 5-7, and have lost their last six to the Tigers. Gordon Central’s last win over them was 31-21 victory in 1999.
For Gordon Central to win this one, Fisher said his team would have to force Ringgold away from their normal gameplan of controlling the clock.
“We have to put them in a situation where they’re not comfortable,” said Fisher. “We want them to be on the defensive, and put pressure on them to do something different. They like to control the clock and the temp so we need to take them out of that comfort zone.”
Gordon Central has had no problems in the first three weeks, but that was pretty much expected based on the opponents.
Still, the offense has looked extremely explosive with so many playmakers, and the defense has been stout, especially up front on the defensive line.
This game will give everyone a good idea of who the real Gordon Central is in 2012. Both are very good teams that should be playoff contenders in Region 5-AAA.
It’s cliché, but it’s going to come down to which team imposes their will on the other. The slight edge goes to Gordon Central in this one.
GC 28, Ringgold 26