The annual Gordon County showdown between Gordon Central and Sonoraville will take center stage at Ratner Stadium starting at 7:30 p.m., and if either team didn’t want to win enough already, the way last Friday went for each team will only serve as extra motivation.
Both Gordon Central (6-1, 3-1) and Sonoraville (1-6, 0-4) are coming off tough losses on the road in Bartow County, the Warriors dropping their first game of the year, 41-19, to Cartersville, and Sonoraville losing a shootout at Adairsville, 49-39.
Gordon Central had a tough night in more ways than one against Cartersville. Not only did they lose the game in frustrating fashion, they lost one of their main playmakers on both sides of the ball with Chandler Curtis going down to an injury. According to head coach Chad Fisher, Curtis has a broken wrist which has been put in a cast, and his timetable for return is unknown at this point.
As far as what happened on the field against the Hurricanes, Fisher said his team made too many mistakes against a quality opponent.
“We shot ourselves in the foot several times,” said Fisher. “We had a turnover in their territory, a bad snap on special teams and a bad punt. Those led to 21 points for Cartersville. But give credit to them, they took advantage of our mistakes and put us in uncomfortable positions all night.”
Sonoraville’s performance against Adairsville caught many by surprise, and even with the loss, the Phoenix have something to build on after their frustrating season to that point.
“We got some kids healed up and a few of them back after the bye week, and that certainly helped morale,” said Sonoraville coach Roger Gentry. “We had a good week of practice for Adairsville, and then we came out and didn’t turn the ball over and played steady on offense.”
Now, both teams turn their attention to their Gordon County neighbors in a series that Gordon Central leads 3-1. Gentry said Gordon Central is still one of the best teams in the region despite the loss to Cartersville.
“They have a very good team over there, and we’re playing at their place so we have to go into their territory and try to put four good quarters together,” said Gentry. “We will really be looking in the mirror as far as running close to the same schemes as they do. We have to win the special teams and be extremely well-prepared for this game.”
For Fisher and the Warriors, who are off to their best start in school history, he said his players shouldn’t look at Sonoraville’s record and expect an easy win.
“(Sonoraville) has gotten a lot better in a hurry,” said Fisher. “And it’s a concern every time you play a rivalry game, you throw the records out. They’ve gotten a lot better so we have to play extremely well to beat them.”
After a game with several mistakes made by the Warriors against Cartersville, Fisher said his team needed to worry more about doing things right rather than being so concerned with what Sonoraville is going to throw at them.
“Obviously, we’ve got to take care of Gordon Central,” said Fisher. “If we can correct our mistakes and do a better job executing our gameplan, we should be alright.”
For Gentry, he said his team needs to continue the improved play they showed against Adairsville.
“The biggest thing is we need to be consistent and hold on to the ball,” said Gentry. “Another thing that we did against Adairsville that we need to do against Gordon Central is respond. There’s going to be some scoring so we have to respond every time they throw something at us, and we’ve got to play hard for four quarters.”
Gordon Central and Sonoraville will have no problem getting over last week’s losses as this rivalry matchup will serve as a very good motivator to do just that.
The Warriors have shown that they are the better team this season on paper, but like Fisher said, crazy things happen in rivalry games. Couple that with Sonoraville’s resurgent play against Adairsville, and it looks like this game could be a very competitive, high-scoring affair.
The Warriors have a little more firepower and home field so they have a slight advantage.
Gordon Central 34, Sonoraville 26