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Gainesville ready for televised tussle
Gainesville's Blake Sims runs the ball during Wednesday's practice. - photo by Tom Reed

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Week 6 previews

Gainesville High running back Teryan Rucker isn’t going to have to look for his father in the crowd at City Park tonight because Demetric Rucker won’t be there.

While the No. 1 ranked Red Elephants (5-0, 1-0 Region 7B-AAA) are playing West Forsyth (3-2, 1-0), Teryan’s father will be recovering from oral surgery performed Wednesday at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. But that doesn’t mean that Demetric isn’t going to see every touch his son gets.

Tonight’s game will be broadcast on CSS for a live statewide viewing audience as a result of winning an online vote. The Gainesville-West Forsyth game received an approximate 41,000 votes, edging out the Luella-Stephenson game that received more than 39,000 votes.

“It’s going to be good that he’s going to be able to still see the game,” Teryan Rucker said. “I’m also excited to get our team out there to let everyone see what we’re working with.”

Playing in front of a camera crew is nothing new for the Gainesville football program. Over the summer, the Red Elephants accepted an invitation to attend the Nike 7On Passing Camp in Beaverton, Ore. It was there that Red Elephants coach Bruce Miller says they could hardly catch a break from cameras, wires and microphones tracing their every step.

That experience may explain why Miller says the players are taking the added exposure of broadcasting one of their games in stride.

All along this season, the Red Elephants’ coach says that this team has stayed immune to external elements and media exposure and their only concern is the team’s bigger goal of making a bid for the state title.

“It’s funny, this team just comes to work every day and gets ready to play,” Miller said. “They are remarkable with the focus and maturity they’ve approached things with this season.”

Of course, players don’t have to get consumed with all the bells and whistles that go into a television production. They just have to focus on going out, winning the game and moving on to the next week. Most players asked don’t even believe that they’ll be conscious of the fact they’re being followed by cameras past the point of warmups.

“It’s a perk getting to be on television, but we’re still going to treat it just like any other game,” Gainesville senior receiver Tai-ler Jones said. “This is not our first time on a big stage, so we just have to act like we’ve been here before.”

“It’s exciting to get to play on television and for people to see who we are,” Red Elephants linebacker Thomas Sprague said. “We’re a really focused team.”

Gainesville High athletic director Wayne Vickery has handled the logistics that go into facilitating a television crew and the equipment it takes to do a live feed for television. He says that the television crew consists of 25 people, cameras, a scissor lift, generators and an 18-wheeler to transport all the equipment. The CSS network sent a broadcast engineer out to Bobby Gruhn Field on Tuesday to look at the site and better prepare it for staging.

“I think this is a great opportunity to showcase our team, cheerleaders, band, and the amazing stadium we have to play in,” Vickery said.

On the field, the Red Elephants are going to be pitted against the Wolverines, a run-first threat that is going to try and milk the clock to earn a victory. It’s a linebacker’s dream.

“We know West Forsyth runs a form of the Wing-T, which is great because I like to play a physical team like that,” Sprague said.

Of course, it may be the coach’s worst nightmare.

“West Forsyth has all the ingredients to win,” Miller said. “They are a ball-control offense, have a big fullback, sound kicking and are a well-coached program.”

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