Hundreds of red-clad high schoolers cheered on the 17 members of the Gainesville High School boys basketball team Friday as they boarded a bus bound for the state class AAA semifinals in Macon.
Students joined cheerleaders in holding up banners reading “We’re Macon it” and “Gotta have state” as the Red Elephant ballplayers proceeded to the bus in the traditional Elephant Walk. Many students released red and white balloons into sunny skies as players boarded the bus.
The team traveled to Macon on Thursday to allow time for players to get settled for today’s 5:30 p.m. game at the Macon Centreplex.
Before leaving town, the bus wound past Gainesville Middle School and Centennial Arts Academy, where hundreds more students and teachers gave players a grand send-offwv.
Senior cheerleader Anika Carrington said she, along with the other Gainesville cheerleaders, will board a bus today after lunch to set up camp on the sidelines of the game against Westover High School from Albany. Carrington said she feels the Gainesville team (21-8) stands a good chance at winning this afternoon.
“Everybody is getting very excited. Everyone in the school is out here right now showing their school spirit,” she said. “Everybody’s behind them.”
Robert Humphrey, a Gainesville junior who plays football, was among the students Thursday who sent the basketball team off in style.
“It’s different from the outside looking in, but it’s all the same because you’re excited for your team,” he said of the Elephant Walk. “Oh, yeah, I definitely believe they’re gonna win.”
Daunte Carr, also a Gainesville junior on the football team, said the basketball team is just two wins away from the state title, and only needs to keep their eye on the prize.
“Play your best. Be confident. Just do what you’ve been doin’ all season,” Carr advised. “... There’s a lot of seniors on that bus. They’ve been wanting something like this since there were little kids at Enota.”