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Rammed tough: Gainesville blanked in opener by Grayson, 34-0
Red Elephants also lose linebacker Borders to knee injury
Gainesville High quarterback Messiah Dorsey tries to get outside of the Grayson defense Friday night during the first half of the Red Elephants' season-opener at City Park Stadium.

Grayson 34 Gainesville 0

Difference maker: Cameryn Brent was a bulldog for Grayson’s methodical rushing offense. He picked up 10 first downs, in addition to his two scores.

Stat that matters: Three. Messiah Dorsey was sacked three times in Gainesville’s loss, but he was forced out of his pocket far too many times, which ruined much hope of him developing a rhythm through the air with his wide receivers.

Turning point: Brent ran all four of the final plays in Grayson’s six-minute long drive in the second quarter, finally breaking through on 4th and goal. Had the Red Elephants made a stop, the momentum may have shifted.

Messiah Dorsey’s debut as quarterback for Gainesville High was a baptism by fire in a 34-0 shutout loss to Grayson (1-0) on Friday night at City Park Stadium.

The senior was sacked three times and had an interception returned for a touchdown in the first half alone, while the Rams’ senior running back Cameryn Brent rushed for 141 yards and two rushing touchdowns to down the Red Elephants (0-1) in their season opener.

Still, Dorsey managed to remain positive after what was supposed to be a redemption game. Gainesville fell to Grayson 39-0 to open the 2014 season.

“I never felt down, I was never feeling rough, I was just trying to pick up my teammates and get them ready to go again,” said Dorsey. “(Grayson) played a good game tonight, so congratulations to them.”

Gainesville suffered another tough loss on the field when senior linebacker Demichael Borders had to be helped off the field after trying to defend a run play in Grayson’s opening series of the first quarter. Coaches said Borders would be taken to the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Saturday morning for an MRI exam to diagnose an injured right knee.

Borders was taken out of the game after just six plays, and rested on the sideline for the rest of the contest.

“He definitely couldn’t play at all,” said Gainesville head coach Bruce Miller. “The first thing we don’t want is to lose, but we also don’t want to lose a guy who does so well for us.”

Brent, a Valdosta State commit, amassed 22 carries throughout the night in a dominant performance in which he bullied his way into the Gainesville end zone from 2 and 11 yards out.

It was on the first of Grayson’s long touchdown drives in the second quarter where the Rams’ rushing attack began to control the tempo. Grayson went 13 plays for 72 yards over six minutes before Brent rushed in each of the last four plays before he finally hit paydirt to put Grayson up 13-0 with 7:29 left in the first half.

Chris Byrd seemed to wrestle back some momentum for Gainesville when he registered the Red Elephants’ first sack on the next Grayson possession, which caused the Rams to go three-and-out.

Byrd led Gainesville with 61 rushing yards on 12 carries. He was responsible for three of Gainesville’s seven first downs.

“I felt like I was on my game,” said the Kennesaw State commit. “I just needed one more spark, but I couldn’t get it to help turn things around. We’ve got to build on what we’ve got now.”

Early in the second quarter, Dorsey (4-for-9, 41 passing yards, 1 INT) found Tre Blackwell down the right sideline for a 35-yard pass, his longest throw of the night, but the drive soon sputtered out.

Dorsey was forced out of his pocket all throughout the night, under the weight of Grayson’s imposing defensive line. He made 14 carries for 20 yards, but was sacked three times.

The senior is playing at quarterback after switching from wide receiver over the offseason.

The Rams proceeded to score on the next two drives. Brent dashed in on the right sideline for a 20-0 lead, before Denzel Wright picked off Dorsey’s first pass from scrimmage with 2:46 left on the ensuing Gainesville possession. Wright ran 25 yards untouched to the end zone to put Grayson up 27-0.

“I never thought it was over,” said Dorsey. “I just had to think like it was 0-0 all the time. You can’t say I was on the sideline crying and moaning. We’re going to get more aggressive and keep battling.”

Grayson quarterback Chase Brice (10-for-18, 177 yards) tacked on the final touchdown late in the third quarter when he found Evan Sturgill in the middle of the lane for an 81-yard catch and score.

Grayson’s sophomore kicker Will Van Pamelen opened the scoring with two field goals from 37 and 48 yards in the first quarter. He missed a kick from 41 yards early in the fourth quarter.

Gainesville will have a bye week next Friday, while Grayson takes on Langston Hughes in Loganville.

“At times, I thought the offense executed well,” said Miller. “No. 1, we need to heal up now. I mean, what a good team to go up against to see where we want to be. We’re not about to get knocked down. After this bye week, we’ve got nine straight games to determine how much longer we can make this year.”

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