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PHOTOS: Reloaded Gainesville gives glimpse into 2023 with spring football scrimmage at City Park Stadium
Gainesville's Gavin Hall (19) runs in its intrasquad scrimmage on May 12, 2023 at City Park Stadium. Photo by Bill Murphy

On Friday, Gainesville’s reloaded football program took to the field for its intrasquad scrimmage at City Park Stadium. 

And after going 14-1 last season and finishing as Class 6A state runner-up, the Red Elephants appear equipped to make things look interesting in 2023. 

During the spring, Gainesville added another huge piece to its already-impressive offensive unit. 

Rising senior running back Gavin Hall, who rushed for more than 2,500 yards and posted more than 4,000 yards of offense in 2022 at Hebron Christian, is in position to earn the starting job after enrolling to play for the Red Elephants. 

Before moving to Gainesville, Hall was a quarterback, earning First-Team All-State honors in Class 3A last season. 

The Red Elephants certainly have a big hole to fill in the backfield with Naim Cheeks (2,300 yards of offense) set to graduate and join JUCO powerhouse East Mississippi Community College. 

However, Gainesville still has some of its best players coming back for one more season. 

Quarterback Baxter Wright (3,343 passing yards in 2022) is a rising senior for the Red Elephants, while two of his main targets Travien Watson (725 yards, six touchdowns) and tight end Sky Niblett (450 yards, 11 touchdowns) are also rising seniors.  

On the defensive side, Gainesville has added rising senior corner back Zion Ferguson, who is one of the nation’s top prospects at his position and is verbally committed to LSU.  

Ferguson has been enrolled at Gainesville since January. 

Ferguson, who previously played at Grayson, is the No. 1 prospect in the state at his position, according to 

On defense, two of the Red Elephants’ top returning talents are junior linebacker Carmelo Byrd (66 tackles, 9 for a loss in 2022) and defensive back Cash O’Callaghan (46 tackles in 2022), along with linemen Kadin Fossung (55 tackles) and Julius Columbus (51 tackles). 

Next week, Gainesville will play its scrimmage against Alpharetta. 

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