Posted: Saturday, August 30th 2014 at 2:22am
Grayson too much for Elephants in opener
By Jeff Hart Staff
Gainesville defenders come to grips with a Grayson ball carrier on Friday in the Red Elephants loss in Grayson. / photo: David Weikel
LOGANVILLE -- As far as season-openers go, Friday night’s 39-0 loss to Grayson is one Gainesville will surely want to forget.
The Elephants were manhandled by a stout Class AAAAAA Grayson defense and the Rams mix of the wing-T and spread offense proved a tough task for a rebuilding Gainesville defense.
However, Gainesville coach Bruce Miller knew coming in they would have their hands full against a Rams squad expected to challenge for a Region 8-AAAAAA title, and maybe more.
“We didn’t play well and they did,” Miller said. “They whipped us on both lines of scrimmage.”
The Elephants (0-1) have an off week next week and now have two weeks to work out the kinks before opening Region 8-AAAAA play against Winder-Barrow at City Park.
“Teams improve the most between the first and second games,” Miller said. “We’ll have to look at the film and be critical of ourselves to be able to improve.”
Grayson sophomore quarterback Chase Brice was efficient and took a page out of the Gainesville playbook with several long passes. Brice finished 9-for-14 for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
Rams junior RB Camyren Brent was a workhorse early for the Rams (1-0) piling up 120 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries in the first half. He finished with 147 yards in three quarters of action.
New Gainesville quarterback Mikey Gonzalez, making his first start in the post-Deshaun Watson era, was harassed most of the night by a big, quick Grayson defensive front. The senior was a solid 28-for-37 for 153 yards on mainly short passes but had two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and could never find a rhythm for the vertical passing game against a quick Grayson secondary.
The first half started okay for the Elephants. The Rams, behind Brent, quickly moved to the Gainesville 8. But a fumble recovered by the Elephants’ Toddrick Turner set Gainesville up with decent field position on its first drive.
A pair of reverses and a Gonzalez pass to Chris Byrd had them in Grayson territory. But the drive stalled and the Rams defense took control the rest of the half.
Grayson essentially got all the points it needed on its next drive, a 10-play masterpiece capped by a 27-yard TD pass from Brice to Cedric Asseh. After another Gainesville punt, Brent capped a short run with a 1-yard plunge for a 14-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
Gonzalez, who was a 13-for-19 in the first half for 90 yards, made his only real mistake on the Elephants next drive overthrowing a receiver and Jordan Hayes picked it off and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead just 1:32 later.
The Rams kept the pressure on capping a nine-play drive with a 6-yard TD pass from Brice to Austin Nash with just 0:04 left in the half.
The Grayson defense, anchored by a big line, shutdown the Gainesville ground game yielding just 18 yards on nine carries and forcing the Elephants to go to the pass. Gainesville finished the first half with five punts and the one interception on six drives.
Things did not get any better for the Elephants in the second half. They had seven possessions with five punts and two more turnovers.
Byrd never stopped, though, leading Gainesville with 30 yards rushing and added 39 yards receiving on 17 total touches. Chris Williamson had 39 yards receiving on six receptions.
Gainesville....0....0....0....0 -- 0
GRY -- Asseh 27 pass from Brice (Hoyt kick) 7-0, 1:30
GRY -- Brent 1 run (Hoyt kick) 14-0, 6:23
GRY -- Au. Hayes 35 INT ret (Hoyt kick) 21-0, 4:51
GRY -- Nash 6 pass from Brice (pass failed) 27-0, 0:04
GRY -- Tiller 4 run (kick failed) 33-0, 1:52
GRY -- An. Hayes 4 run (run failed) 39-0, 10:49
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