Red Elephants stomp Houston County in shootout, clinch semifinal berth [VIDEO]

The unbeaten Red Elephants (13-0) outpaced the state’s second-best offense in a 49-35 win over #6-ranked Houston County (10-3) at City Park on Black Friday. Gainesville, ranked #6, secured a semifinal berth for the first time since 2013 in Deshaun Watson’s senior year.

After going down in the second quarter 14-7 on quick TDs by the Bears, Gainesville responded with 35 unanswered points before Houston County got back on the board late in the third. The Red Elephants scored 3 TDs each in the second and third quarter.

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Digital Game Highlights – Gainesville vs Houston County

Digital Game Highlights – Gainesville vs Houston County

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The Red Elephants got on the board first on their first drive on a 65-yd TD pass from Baxter Wright to Naim Cheeks. Houston County scored twice within 2 minutes of each other in the second quarter. QB Antwann Hill, Jr threw a 35-yd TD to Kale Woodburn and a 32-yd TD to Arthur Brown, setting the Bears up with a 14-7 lead with 8:04 to go in the first half.

Gainesville responded with a Cheeks 31-yd TD to knot the game less than a minute later. After holding the Bears on the next drive, the Red Elephants went ahead for good on a 41-yd TD by Wright in which he used the entire field to find the end zone. That came with 2:17 to go in the second. Again Gainesville forced a punt, and Wright found Sky Niblett with a 17-yd TD with 51 seconds left in the half, doubling up on the Bears 28-14.

Coming out of the break, the Red Elephants went pedal to the metal by Cheeks rumbling 65 yards on the first play from scrimmage to pad the lead up to 35-14. After recovering a fumble, Gainesville continued to put the game out of reach with a 57-yd TD pass from Wright to Tre Reece. Down 42-14, Houston County finally got back on the board on a 39-yd TD from Hill, Jr to Woodburn, bridging the gap to 42-21. On the ensuing kickoff, Reece took it 90 yards to the end zone for an immediate response and the 49-21 lead.

Houston County got a late third-quarter TD on a 4-yd plunge by Nick Jordan, and an early fourth-quarter score on a 16-yard TD from Hill, Jr to Woodburn.

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