The matchup everyone’s been waiting to see in Region 5-AAA. The game that will likely decide the region champion and the No. 1 seed for the state playoffs.
Gordon Central and Cartersville both know exactly what’s on the line on Friday when the Warriors travel down I-75 to Weinman Memorial Stadium to take on the Hurricanes.
Both teams enter Friday’s contest undefeated on the season, but more importantly undefeated in region play. The winner will have the inside track on the Region 5-AAA championship.
“The biggest thing for us is that we’re excited to be in this situation,” said Gordon Central coach Chad Fisher. “We’ve got to focus on the task at hand which is playing four quarters of good football.
“I think this would be a huge win, but the game has to be played before we can talk about any of that. If we are able to do it, it would definitely open up some avenues for some great things this year for our program. But we have to focus on the game first and not what could happen afterward.”
Gordon Central (6-0, 3-0) and Cartersville (6-0, 3-0) enter the game coming off a bye last week so both teams have had amplet time to prepare for the other. Fisher said his team accomplished all that they wanted to during the off week.
“I think we got the kids rested and healthy which was our main goal,” said Fisher. “It was a good for the kids and us coaches to get some off time. And during the time we did practice, I thought we were able to correct some of the things that have been causing us problems.”
Both teams have shown the ability to score a lot of points but also to be able to get crucial stops and turnovers from their defense.
The Warriors offense, led by senior quarterback MJ Reynolds, and the defense, led by several players including senior defensive end DJ Prather, will each be facing the most skilled counterparts they have in 2012 when they take the field against Cartersville.
“Cartersville is a very good team, no doubt the best we’ve faced so far,” said Fisher. “We have to prepare very well and be disciplined in all three phases of the game.
“Cartersville is fast, big and well-coached so we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
This will be the first ever meeting between the two schools. Cartersville, a traditionally strong program led by coach Frank Barden, is off to its best start since 2005 when the Hurricanes began the season 7-0.
Gordon Central is also off to a great start, really uncharted territory for the Warriors, at 6-0. Their previous best was a 4-0 start in 1988. Still, the Warriors don’t want to stop this momentum they’ve gained so far in 2012, and Fisher said his team has to focus on a few key areas to be successful against Cartersville.
“The biggest thing for us is to be physical and play mistake-free football,” said Fisher. “We’ve got to get it to the fourth quarter and still be in the game. If we can do that, anything can happen.”
This is the one everybody’s been waiting on. The two best teams in Region 5-AAA will go at it in front of what should be a standing-room only crowd.
This is a case of Cartersville’s traditional solid style of play and Gordon Central’s spread it around exciting style.
So who wins in this heavyweight clash?
Gordon Central 28, Cartersville 26