State football semifinals
Gainesville vs. Tucker
When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Hallford Stadium, 3789 Memorial College Ave., Clarkston (click here for Google map)
Tickets: $15; on sale 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at Gainesville High School, 830 Century Place
More info: 770-536-4441
Buford vs. Callaway
When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Tom Riden Stadium, Buford
Winners advance to state finals Dec. 13 in the Georgia Dome
“Go Big Red!”
The cheer echoed Thursday through the halls of Gainesville High School as students were gearing up for tonight’s Class AAAAA state semifinal football game against Tucker.
“We’re all excited because this game will get us back into state,” said Terrell Knight, a sophomore at the school. “It was exciting last year to go to the (Georgia) Dome.”
The No. 3 Red Elephants (12-1) are ready to head back to Atlanta next week to reclaim their state championship. But first they have to get past the No. 1-ranked Tucker Tigers (13-0).
Students anticipate a Gainesville win, but know it’ll be tough.
“It’s a big chip on our shoulder,” sophomore Ken Flenoy said. “I think we’re going to beat Tucker and go on to state once again. The score will probably be 31-20.”
Both Flenoy and Knight plan to make the trip to Hallford Stadium in DeKalb County for tonight’s 7:30 p.m. game. Tickets are $15, and can be purchased at the gate or from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gainesville High School office.
Junior Kelan Henderson was uncertain if he’d be able to make the trip, but anticipates a Gainesville win.
“I love football,” he said. “I’ve been to a lot of games this year.”
A win tonight will send the team back to the finals at the Georgia Dome, scheduled for Dec. 13.
“The excitement and support of the students, faculty, parents and our community as we progress in the playoffs is tremendous and so appreciated,” Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said. “In the playoffs, every game is a gift that has been earned by the work of our team and coaches.”
Principal LaCrisia Larkin said they’re just “taking it one game at a time.”
“Our team has worked so hard this year,” she said. “We’re just looking forward to maybe getting to the Dome again.”
Regardless of how Gainesville performs, Henderson said he’s proud of the team and how well it has played this season.
“Winning isn’t half of it,” he added. “If you play well and you play to the best of your ability, that’s all that matters.”