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Look at Gainesville High’s defensive statistics and Daunte Carr’s numbers don’t exactly jump off the page: 66 tackles, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
But here’s a statistic that does stand out: 52-1. That’s Carr’s won-loss record during his four years of high school football, and that one loss came in the third round of the Class AA playoffs against Charlton County when he was a freshman at Buford.
Since then, Carr has laced up the cleats and strapped on the shoulder pads for 40 games. All were wins, and two were in state title games while at Buford.
Now, as a senior safety of the top-ranked Red Elephants (10-0), Carr is looking to add five more wins to his winning streak and help lead Gainesville to its first GHSA state championship.
“I don’t plan on losing any more,” Carr said Thursday after the team’s walk-through practice for tonight’s first-round game against Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe (7-3).
“It’s not just me,” he added. “It’s the whole team. The whole team has that mindset of not losing and everybody has set one goal which is winning state, not just getting there.”
If his teammates need any answers to what it takes to win a state title, Carr is the perfect person to ask. His sophomore and junior years both ended with state titles, and when he walked on to the field for his first practice as a Red Elephant, his actions made it clear that he wanted to end his senior season the same way.
“He’s been tremendous,” Gainesville coach Bruce Miller said. “He’s brought a lot of leadership, a lot of knowledge on how to win and a lot of hustle to our team.
“He means so much to our total team.”
Especially because of that whole knowing-how-to-win thing.
“Most of the times when a kid comes out of a winning program he knows how to win and knows what it takes to win,” Miller said. “Daunte knows all those things.”
He also knows how to play defense as well. His 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame is an intimidating presence in the secondary and — along with Tevin Yarbrough — is a main reason why the Red Elephants are surrendering less than 100 passing yards per game.
“Going against our offense every single day, and battling them every single day helps us tremendously,” Carr said.
It would have to, seeing that offense is the highest scoring offense in the state, averaging 47.3 points per game. Yet, while the Gainesville defense has stopped the offense during practices, Carr has no answers to how an opposing team can shut down the offense.
“That’s the funny thing,” he said. “You can’t key on just one part, it’s the whole entire offense.”
It’s also the entire defense that has prevented teams from scoring all year; it’s not just the highly-touted linebacking corps of A.J. Johnson, Thomas Sprague, Alberto Sanabria and Graham Simmons.
“That’s the thing people forget about,” Carr said. “Just like every other team, we play as a unit.”
In fact, the whole team can be considered one complete unit.
“We’re like a big giant family,” Carr said. “We play fast, play hard and never quit.”
That’s one reason why the team has been ranked No. 1 for the majority of the year and is considered by most the favorite to win the Class AAA state title.
Just don’t tell that to the players.
“We don’t focus on that,” Carr said. “We take every team as being one of the best teams and we have to beat them. We have to go in there with a winning attitude and fight to win the game.”
A winning attitude. With a 52-1 career record, Carr can certainly say he has that.