For a lot of teams, a loss with that on the line would be a deflating blow.
But according to coach Chad Fisher, that won’t be the case for the Warriors, who still have plenty to play for, including recording just the third 8-2 record in school history.
The team that stands in their way of that mark is North Murray, who has improved greatly this season in only their third full varsity season of football.
Gordon Central (7-2, 4-2) will have to refocus, however, after the Adairsville loss as they will need a win to assure themselves of the No. 3 spot in Region 5-AAA. (They could possibly still have the No. 3 seed with a loss along with a Ringgold loss.)
“Obviously, we’ve got to correct a lot of things,” said Fisher. “Our tackling and pass blocking are two big things that we have to address.
“It was a tough loss so we’ll have to spend this week building the kids back up and trying to get the confidence back before we play North Murray.”
The Mountaineers (5-4, 2-4) have a lot on the line as well. Despite being out of the playoff picture, they are looking for their first ever winning season after 1-9 and 0-10 campaigns in 2010 and 2011.
Fisher said North Murray is a team that has to be taken seriously as he’s seen them molded into a good team in just a short amount of time.
“I think they are a big, physical, fast team and are coached very well,” said Fisher. “We’ve got to be able to stop their running game, and we’ve got to match their physical style by playing physical football ourselves.”
There were several bright spots in the loss to Adairsville, including another stellar game from quarterback MJ Reynolds. Reynolds finished with 303 yards passing and two TDs through the air as well as 72 yards and score on the ground.
DJ Prather also had a good night on both sides of the ball. He had seven catches for 80 yards on offense and recorded five total tackles, a pass breakup and a six-yard interception return for a TD on the defensive side.
Even with those highlights, Fisher said his team had a lot of areas to address before stepping back on the field on Friday.
“Our main focus is to correct mistakes this week in practice,” said Fisher. “The best cure for a tough loss is getting a win, and we want to finish the regular season on a good note before going into the playoffs.
“We have to execute better on both sides of the ball and eliminate stupid penalties because those will come back to bite you most of the time.”
Penalties were a problem against Adairsville as the Warriors had 18 of them for 155 yards.
Gordon Central has won both meetings with North Murray, including a 27-12 victory on the road last season when they were playing without the services of quarterback Reynolds due to an injury.
They should be at full strength this Friday.
The Warriors are coming off a very emotional loss, but they have to turn the page quickly because North Murray is a dangerous team.
The Mountaineers have shown the ability to hang with several of the better teams in the region as they’ve been in a lot of games as late as the third quarter.
Gordon Central can’t take them lightly, and they know that. Expect the Warriors to come out ready to prove something in this one and head into the playoffs with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder.
Warriors win convincingly.
Gordon Central 42, North Murray 14