And they had their chance with the ball inside the five-yard line in the last minute. Unfortunately, the Warriors weren’t able to capitalize, as a few plays didn’t go their way in the 24-21 loss to end their season.
But that one loss and the sequence of events leading up to it doesn’t take away the great year it was for the Warriors.
And even in the loss to Morgan County, coach Chad Fisher said he couldn’t have asked for better effort than he got from his players.
“I thought they competed and fought hard, and they gave us a chance to win there in the closing seconds of the game,” said Fisher. “They wanted to win extremely bad, and they played that way. We just came up a little short.”
The loss wrapped up an 8-3 year, including their second straight state playoff appearance. It was the first back-to-back playoff appearances since 2004 and 2005.
Fisher said that once the sting of the loss wears off for the players, they should look back on the season and be proud of what they accomplished.
“It was a great year,” said Fisher. “We won several ball games, more than we have in a long time. And we had the best start in school history (at 6-0).
"We had a lot of firsts this year, and we got back into the playoffs again which is quite an accomplishment for this team, this school and this community.”
The Warriors were extremely close to making the season even more memorable by hosting a playoff game for the first time in school history, but unfortunately, a close loss to Adairsville in the second to final game cost them that opportunity. Even after that loss, though, they picked themselves back up and still charged toward finishing the season on a positive note.
They rebounded quickly after the loss with a 50-26 win over North Murray to end the regular season and head into the playoff with some momentum before the tough loss on Friday. The win over the Mountaineers wrapped up a 5-2 record, good for a third-place finish in their first year in Region 5-AAA.
The playoff loss was the final game for 18 seniors, a group that has seen the program turn around in their four years on the Gordon Central campus. The class includes several big-time contributors with MJ Reynolds, Tyshaun Clemmons, DJ Prather, LaRons Winston, Bryan Brookshire and many others.
They started their career at Gordon Central with a 3-7 season and will finish with an 8-3 year and back-to-back playoff appearances.
“They improved every year, and they helped turn this program around,” said Fisher. “Each year they increased their wins, and they had the back-to-back playoffs berths so they did a lot of good things for the school and this team.
“I’m very pleased and proud of what they’ve accomplished. They’re a special group of young men, and we are certainly going to miss them.”
The loss was even tougher for Prather due to an injury he suffered in the game that not only ended his high school football career but will also force him to miss the first month or so of his senior basketball season.
Prather suffered a toe injury that will keep him out of basketball for at least the next four to six weeks and possibly longer.
Reynolds wraps up his career as quarterback with a stellar season in which he threw 33 TD passes. Fisher said Reynolds, who has earned looks from several college programs, was a big part of why Gordon Central got where they did this year.
Now, Fisher and his staff will reflect on the season that was, but also look forward to next season and what needs to be done to continue to keep the program on an upward path.
“Our goal is to get back to work after the break,” said Fisher. “We’re going to have new group, and we’ve got to get going on next year. We have to get the kids back in the weight room to get them stronger and faster.
“Hopefully we can continue on the success we’ve been able to establish the last few years.”
Fisher said one of the biggest goals this offseason will be to develop more depth to combat the injury problems the team has suffered through the last couple years down the final stretch of the season.