The Tigers did not get the result they wanted a week ago against Cartersville, falling 47-7 to the state’s No. 2-ranked team in AAA high school football, but they still have a clear shot at making the state playoffs and will be trying to extend their season with a strong run.
“We definitely want to get back in the win column and continue to control our destiny,” head coach Eric Bishop said. “We’ve lost two region games and one of them was to the state’s No. 2-ranked team. There’s no shame in those losses.
“We’re focused on the big picture, and we have to make sure we stay consistent. We didn’t play that badly, but we couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone when we needed to and get the scores we needed.”
Bishop said the Tigers are focusing on their next opponent and on finding ways to improve their own play.
“We’re not overlooking anyone. We know in high school football, anybody can beat anybody. We’re definitely not looking past Gordon Central, but we are most concerned about us getting better each week.”
The Adairsville coach said the Warriors have the potential to put points up with their ground attack.
“Gordon Central has two very dangerous backs,” he said. “They’re probably as good as anybody in the region individually and we have to do our job.”
The coach said the Tigers are concentrating on improving as a team and as individuals.
“I liken it to the Ringgold loss,” he said. “It’s not like we had a letdown. They were ranked No. 2 in the state. I felt we matched them in the physical part of the game.”
He said the Tigers are focused on the future and winning.
“They want to get back out on the field,” he said. “They know the most important thing is to continue to get better every week. We had some very bright spots in our game that maybe the common eye might not see. We want to play up to that level every night.
“The important thing is we still control our destiny and if we win out, we are the No. 3 seed in our region.
Adairsville (5-3, 3-2 in Region 5-AAA) presently is tied with Sonoraville, which it defeated 35-14 on Oct. 18 and holds the head-to-head advantage in determining playoff seeding.
The Tigers must find a way to put their loss to the Purple Hurricanes behind them and play up to their potential against a Gordon Central team that has had little success thus far this season, especially in its won-loss record.
The Warriors (0-8, 0-5) are averaging just 7 points per outing — by far the weakest performance in the region — while giving up 33 points each Friday night, the third poorest defensive performance.
Adairsville has been much more productive offensively, its offensive unit hanging an average of 28 points on the scoreboard for each outing while giving up a total of 20 points.
The Tigers have played up to their potential all season long, falling only to the region’s top two teams and their cross-county rival Cass, an AAAA team, in the season’s first game.
The Tigers also have been steadily improving this season, particularly in their running attack, spearheaded by quarterback Marcus Childers and running backs Tristin Smith and Sidnee Johnson.
Childers is a big part of that running attack, too, calling his own number at opportune times to help extend his team’s drives.
The Tigers offensive line also has been a big factor in the offensive success, shoving tacklers out of the way to give runners an easier path to move the chains as well as providing more time for Childers to connect with his receiving corps. That passing attack is a work in progress but the passing stats for the Tigers have been steadily rising as a trend.
Adairsville’s strongest offensive performances came against Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, who the Tigers defeated 49-0 on Sept. 20; Armuchee, who they handled 38-7 on Sept. 6, and Sonoraville, who they overpowered 35-14. Their win, on Oct. 18, was perhaps sweetened, however, by a late turnover by the Phoenix which they converted into a touchdown. Their smallest margin of victory was 31-21, the tally when they defeated North Murray on Oct. 4.
The Tigers are pointed toward making the state playoffs a third year in a row.
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.