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High school football: Gainesville's new running back looking to 'finish the mission' in 2023
Gainesville's Gavin Hall runs during its intrasquad scrimmage on May 12 at City Park Stadium. Photo by Bill Murphy

Gavin Hall has been ‘loving every second’ since enrolling at Gainesville. 

And the Red Elephants are equally excited about what the senior running back will bring to its program in 2023. 

“Everyone here at Gainesville has welcomed me into the program,” said Hall, who played at Hebron Christian in 2021 and 2022. “We have the pieces in place to go back to the state (finals) and finish the mission.”

Certainly, Hall knows his role. 

At 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, the former quarterback at Hebron Christian, who posted 2,547 rushing yards (32 touchdowns) and threw for 1,759 yards (18 touchdowns) in 2022, will get a chance to fill the running back vacancy left with the graduation of Naim Cheeks, who put up more than 2,000 yards last season.  

Along with his family, Hall moved to Gainesville in time to participate in spring practice. 

And, right away, he’s made an impact with his ‘downhill’ style to finding a hole and breaking off big runs. 

In addition, Hall will have an opportunity to line up in the slot and catch passes from prolific senior Baxter Wright, who is entering his fourth year in command of the Red Elephants’ offense. 

“Playing at Gainesville will prepare me for what I’ll see with college offenses,” said Hall, who was also a First-Team All-State selection in Class 3A in 2022. 

Now at Gainesville, Hall anticipates reaching the 1,000-yard mark in the backfield, which will complement nicely Wright’s arm, after going over 3,000 yards through the air last season. 

However, his primary focus and reason for the move was to get that championship ring, something that has eluded Gainesville’s program since Deshaun Watson was playing quarterback in 2012. 

“We’re trying to finish the mission and get that (championship) ring,” Hall said. 

In addition, Hall will get to play his senior season with his close friend Eric Hart, who topped 500 receiving yards in 2022 for Mountain View, before moving in to Gainesville. 

Gainesville fans will recall Hart was on the receiving end of a touchdown play for Mountain View, following a tip from a Red Elephants defender, last season at City Park Stadium. 

As for Hall, his prep career started fast, accounting for 1,200 yards as a freshman in 2020 for George Walton Academy. 

The following season, he moved to Hebron Christian. 

After a sophomore season that went down in production for Hall, he shot up to become one of the state’s most explosive playmakers in 2022. 

Following his first spring with the Red Elephants, Hall is enthused about playing for their head coach Josh Niblett, who’s first season resulted in a 14-1 campaign and trip to the state finals in 2022. 

Hall anticipates being an every-down running back for the Red Elephants. 

And behind Hall in the Red Elephants’ backfield will be freshman phenom Mikel Stephen, who is rated on of the top players in the country for the Class of 2027. 

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