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Sunday May 24th, 2015 1:09AM

Gainesville cruises to 49-6 defeat of Salem

By staff
CONYERS -- Gainesville left no doubt this time.

After letting Cedar Shoals stick around through three quarters last week, the Red Elephants pounced on Salem for 35 first half points en route to a 49-6 defeat of the Seminoles on Friday in Conyers.

The Red Elephants rolled up 406 yards of offense in the win, moving to 6-1 and 5-0 in Region 8-AAAAA, as they began to set their sites on next week's showdown with undefeated Clarke Central at City Park.

Seventh-ranked Gainesville will hope for a similar defensive performance next week.

The Red Elephants forced three first half turnovers, including a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown from Brenquez Dukes for a 20-0 lead in the first quarter. Quamon Peoples also had an interception, and the Red Elephants also forced a fumble on their own 10-yard line on Salem's first possession of the game. The turnover set Gainesville on its way, as the visitors responded with a 90-yard drive to turn a 7-0 lead into 14-0 advantage.

Deshaun Watson once again led the Red Elephants' offensive assault, passing for 212 yards and three scores, completing 14 of 23 attempts. Mikey Gonzalez also threw a 56-yard touchdown pass.

Michael Byrd added two rushing scores for Gainesville, finishing with 43 yards on the ground. Jay Gaudlock added 40 yards rushing. Tray Harrison finished with 68 yards receiving.

Gainesville will play host to Clarke Central next week.
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