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Red Elephants head for the Dome
Gainesville faces Peach County for AAA title game this afternoon
Fans turn out for the Elephant Walk at Gainesville High School as the football team departs for the Georgia Dome. - photo by Tom Reed
Saturday’s send-off for the Gainesville football team to the state title game was especially meaningful for Kim Davis.
As the Red Elephants’ cheerleading coach, Davis was in charge of making sure everything was running smoothly with her crew while showing support for the football team.

But she also had her youngest son, Caston, a senior football player, on her mind.

“I’m so thrilled to have a son be a part of this,” Davis said. “Being a part of a team like this is something way bigger than just himself.”

The Red Elephants boarded buses for the 55-mile trip to Atlanta with their traditional Elephant Walk.

For this game, the walk was held on the school’s campus as opposed to City Park, the traditional location during home games.

Players, coaches and everyone else associated with the team walked between two lines of band members, school administrators, parents, students and fans as they boarded buses in the school’s front parking lot at noon.

A crowd numbering well into the hundreds made sure to make plenty of noise as players emerged from the field house. They were making the drive directly to the Georgia Dome, eating chicken sandwiches on the buses without stopping, in order to watch the tail end of the Class A state title game.

The Red Elephants will then begin dressing and warming up for their 4:30 p.m. game.

“We really want to bring home that state title,” Gainesville senior student Taylor Shields said. “We’re going to do what we can to make sure the mighty Red Elephants win.”

Players arrived on game day at 10 a.m. to eat breakfast with the team. Then they split up for a short period of group meeting time with their position groups.
Meanwhile, work was already under way by the cheerleaders to prepare for the evening’s welcome home party for the team — win or lose.

Fans started congregating around 11 a.m. to make sure to show their support for the Red Elephants, who have won all 14 games this season leading into the state title contest.

Some fans were a mixed bag of emotions as they let the magnitude of today’s game sink in.

Hammond Law, father of Gainesville junior lineman Jake Law, said the send-off was a way of underscoring the importance of the day and all those who came before them that played at the school.

“My son had a grandfather, uncle and three cousins play at Gainesville,” Law said. “He’s the first one to have this opportunity like today.

“He understands the significance of this.”