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Gainesville overcomes rain, turnovers in 42-6 win
Red Elephants improve to 8-0 behind first-half outburst
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Gainesville coach Bruce Miller discusses his team's win.

The rain hampered the Gainesville offense, but it couldn’t completely shut it down.

Despite turning the ball over three times in the first half, the Red Elephants ran up a 35-point lead, ultimately taking down Gilmer 42-6 on Friday night at City Park.

"I’m glad we played in conditions like this," said Gainesville coach Bruce Miller, who watched one fumble turn into six points for Gilmer (0-8, 0-4 Region 7B-AAA) in the third quarter. "Our defense is still playing super, but we got to cut down on the turnovers."

The wet weather, which Miller said was part of the reason for two turnovers in the first half, didn’t seem to affect the Red Elephants (8-0, 3-0 7B-AAA) at the start of the game. Gainesville scored touchdowns on its first two possessions to build a 14-0 lead.

Both scoring drives, which lasted a total of two minutes and 49 seconds combined, were capped off by a Blake Sims-to-T.J. Jones touchdown pass. The first was from 35 yards, the second from 12.

"We didn’t want to take Gilmer lightly," said Sims, who exited the game just before halftime. "We knew that we were probably better than they were, but we took them like we would any other team and came out firing."

Sims ended the game 7-of-15 passing for 125 yards and two touchdowns. He added another 69 yards rushing, including a nifty 35-yard run that set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Teryan Rucker.

With a 21-0 lead, the playing conditions soon started to play a toll on the Red Elephants.

After a three-and-out on its first possession of the second quarter, Gainesville muffed a punt and then fumbled to give Gilmer good field position. Luckily for the Red Elephants, the Bobcats also had their issues holding onto the football.

On the first play from scrimmage after the fumble by Gainesville, Josh Jackson sacked Gilmer quarterback Thomas Davis, forcing a fumble and giving the ball back to the Red Elephants. Jackson’s sack was one of four on the night for Gainesville.

Rucker capitalized on the turnover with a 24-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage.

"We just wanted to execute and play like the No. 6 team in the state," said linebacker Alberto Sanabria, who had two sacks for the Red Elephants. "We worked real hard in practice all week, and that paid off tonight."

Gainesville turned another Gilmer fumble into seven points later in the second quarter. This time, sophomore Devon Pierce scampered 13 yards for the score, putting the Red Elephants up 35-0.

Gilmer’s lone touchdown came at the start of the fourth quarter, when Thomas Davis passed to Hunter Barnes for a 2-yard score. The touchdown was set up by Gainesville’s second fumble of the game.

The lack of a shutout didn’t alter Miller’s thoughts on his team’s performance.

"We turned it over down there, so that’s OK," Miller said of losing the shutout. "Our defense is still playing super, and if we keep playing defense we got a chance to be successful."

Gainesville, which increased its winning streak against Gilmer to 13 games, visits Johnson at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Gilmer, which has lost 13 straight dating back to last year, plays host to North Hall at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

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