Gordo-Pickens County all about pride, not playoffs
Wed. October 31, 2012 at 10:39 p.m. | By Andrew Carroll
Jermarcus Brown, left, and Pickens County have a Class 1A postseason spot secure, but beating rival Gordo, a Class 3A playoff team, is still critical. (Photo by T.G. Paschal)
Gordo and Pickens County have earned playoff berths in their respective classifications for next week, but that won’t matter much tonight when the 8-mile rivalry is renewed.
"We want to make sure we come out of this game healthy going into the playoffs," said Pickens County coach Patrick Plott, whose 8-1 Tornadoes are ranked No. 7 in Class 1A. "It’s going to be an intense ballgame, It always is between these two teams. We’re trying to approach it like it’s any other game. I always tell the kids that the next game is a big game."
Gordo coach David McKinney said he was part of the Stevenson-Bridgeport rivalry when he was in high school.
"This is definitely a heated rivalry," McKinney said. "Both communities want to win this game. Both schools want to win. More people come home for this game than any other game.
"I think Coach Plott does a great job with what they do, and they have some great players. They’re the most athletically talented team I’ve seen this year from top to bottom."
Pickens County’s Jermarcus Brown has 1,636 rushing yards and has scored 24 touchdowns. Devonte Simon, who has scored 17 touchdowns, has thrown for 890 yards and 11 touchdowns. Rhaheem Curry leads the Tornadoes with 12 catches for 286 yards and two touchdowns.
"Jermarcus Brown has speed and quickness, and the offensive line has been doing a good job," Plott said. "The main thing is he’s seeing the holes and he’s able to make his cuts. Once he gets out in the open, he’s been able to score with it.
"Devonte Simon has done a great job of running the offense. He’s been putting the ball where he needs to put it for our receivers."
Gordo, 7-2, has qualified for the Class 3A playoffs.
"The good thing is that we’ve gotten a little better each week," McKinney said. "We’ve run the ball better each week. We’re catching the ball a little better. I think we have a lot of people skill wise. In the last three or four games we’ve had 11 to 12 players run the football and eight to 12 catch the football. The other teams are having to play the field on us. We try to find out what you don’t do well and attack it."
Gordo quarterback Lane Moss has thrown for 1,446 yards and 12 touchdowns. Day’lon Rice leads the Greenwave with 349 yards rushing. Tyvon Martin has 321, and Moss is third with 232.
"They have a very good quarterback," Plott said. "They have some running plays designed for him. When he drops back to pass, we have to be disciplined on defense and play assignment football."
McKinney said Moss’ running ability enhances the offense.
"I believe that when he runs the football he becomes better at throwing it because of his confidence," McKinney said. "He’s been making good decisions and the proper reads and taking what the defense gives him."
Devin Prude, Marcus Jones and Drew Hankins are the top three receivers for Gordo. Starting offensive linemen include tackles Andrew Brown and Andrew Hutchenson, guards Tootie Glass and Cole Allen and center Blake Burkhalter. Call Dyer fills in as an offensive lineman.
McKinney said the line will be tested by "the best defensive front we’ve seen all year."
Plott said tackles William Stewart and Terrien Steele are leaders for the Pickens County defense, along with linebackers Justin Barton and Chris Hill.
Steele and Hill have 88 tackles each.
Reach Andrew Carroll at email@example.com or at 205-722-0223.