Posted: Saturday, October 6th 2012 at 12:03am
Red Elephants give Jaguars a stiff-arm, 42-23
By Morgan Lee Editor
Gainesville's Jay Gaudlock runs for a gain during the Red Elephants defeat of Cedar Shoals on Friday in Athens. / photo: David Weikel
ATHENS -- Gainesville football knew it wouldn't always be easy in Region 8-AAAAA, and after three straight blowout wins, the Red Elephants finally got the test they had been waiting for.
Thanks to a strong fourth quarter, Gainesville passed with relative ease.
The Red Elephants put up two unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of another strong performance from Deshaun Watson to notch a 42-23 defeat of Cedar Shoals in Athens.
Gainesville (5-1, 4-0 Region 8-AAAAA) needed both scores from Watson -- who rushed for two four-yard touchdowns -- to see off a determined challenge from Jaguars (3-3, 1-3), who pulled within 28-23 early in the fourth quarter.
Cedar Shoals running back Adrian Washington scored on a 1-yard plunge to pull within five points -- after the Jaguars had corralled an onside kick. But after leading for much of the game, Gainesville wasn't about to let Cedar Shoals pull any closer.
The Red Elephants snuffed out a two-point conversion attempt and scored on the very next drive to gain some breathing room. The Gainesville defense then came up with two turnovers to deny any thoughts of a Jaguars comeback, allowing Watson to seal the game on another four-yard run late in the quarter.
"I think we found out we have to be ready to play every week," Gainesville coach Bruce Miller said. "Cedar Shoals played us very tough, but even though we relaxed a little it didn't cost us."
Watson finished the game 20-of-28 through the air for 234 yards and three scores while also running for three touchdowns and 118 yards. His top target was Caleb Haymen, who snagged three passes for 37 yards and two scores. Jay Gaudlock also carried 11 times for 59 yards, while Rodney Lackey caught three passes for 66 yards. Michael Byrd also caught a touchdown pass.
Gainesville needed more than a quarter to put its first points up on the board, the two teams battling to a scoreless draw through the opening 12 minutes. But Watson's scoring passes to Haymen and Byrd gave the Red Elephants a 14-0 advantage in the second quarter.
Cedar Shoals battled back through Washington, who finished the night with 30 carries for 128 yards and two touchdowns, the running back helping the Jaguars into field goal range before the interval.
Cedar Shoals pulled within 14-10 in the third quarter, but Gainesville responded to lead 28-10.
Gainesville finished with 436 yards of offense, compared with 306 for the Jaguars.
The Red Elephants will travel again next week, facing Salem on the road.
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