Gainesville High’s football team didn’t seem consumed by the final score of its 28-25 scrimmage win against St. Pius. And Red Elephants coach Bruce Miller didn’t seem worried about the fact that St. Pius scored twice late in their glorified practice at City Park.
“It’s like a pro exhibition,” Miller said. “You want to play well, you hope you play well, but you don’t really remember the final score.”
In the only scrimmage with two teams from Hall County, Chestatee rushed for 480 yards, finished with 582 yards of total offense and defeated West Hall 60-14 at War Eagles Stadium. Chestatee senior tailback Ben Souther rushed for 195 yards and three touchdowns. Hart County defeated White County 20-17 in Hartwell.
While the score will be forgotten, the Red Elephants will remember that the first team offense moved the football well under the leadership of senior quarterback Blake Sims. Gainesville’s starters on defense were just as sharp, allowing only one first-half score. The Red Elephants defense also stopped the Golden Lions on a fourth-and-3 attempt in the second quarter.
“I thought the first team defense did great tonight except for a couple of big plays on the option,” said Miller.
Meanwhile, Gainesville’s offense showed it could score in different fashions. The Red Elephants scored a quick touchdown on its first drive that only took two minutes off the clock. Then on their second drive, Gainesville pieced together a slow, methodical drive that included seven first downs, 11 plays and took almost 7 minutes from start to finish.
The Red Elephants’ first play from scrimmage was the longest pass play of the night when Sims hit senior wide receiver Tai-ler Jones for 47 yards. Five plays later, running back Teryan Rucker, a senior, scored on a run from the 2.
Gainesville’s second touchdown drive featured the receiving abilities of senior Tyson Smith. His first catch was on a 19-yard pass from Sims. Later in the drive, Smith made a catch on the ground at the 2 after Sims scrambled from the pocket looking for an open receiver. On the next play, Sims scored on a run.
“That drive was nice because I like to think that we can put a drive together, and are not just a big play team,” Miller added.
Sims, an Alabama commit, scored on a 68-yard run with 5:57 remaining in the third quarter. Less than a minute later, Red Elephants senior linebacker Graham Simmons intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.
Gainesville plays host to Chestatee at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 28 to open the season.
For Chestatee, Souther’s longest touchdown run came on a run of 80 yards. Keaton Summerlin ran for 99 yards and a touchdown for the War Eagles, and Alex Moore had 90 yards and another Chestatee score.
War Eagles junior quarterback Scott Chewning finished with 150 yards of total offense and had one touchdown.
On defense, James Kibbler led the War Eagles with an interception, fumble recovery and also forced a fumble. Chandler Farrow had five solo tackles and a pair of assisted tackles for the Chestatee.
“Our kids showed some good things tonight and played hard,” War Eagles coach Stan Luttrell said. “This is another tool for us to use to get better over the next two weeks to prepare to play Gainesville.”