partlycloudy
Wednesday July 29th, 2015 12:04PM

Opinion: Watson walks away from towering legacy

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
History begged a more momentous ending, screamed for a larger stage.

Rarely does reality bow to history, however.

Gainesville walked away from Friday's semifinal loss to Tucker with absolutely no reason to hang its collective heads. The Red Elephants battled and clawed for every inch in a razor-thin contest that came down to the final minutes before an impressive Tigers team pulled out a 20-14 comeback victory.

For so many great Gainesville seniors -- led by perhaps the greatest senior of all -- to finish a game short of the Georgia Dome created a hollow aftermath that could linger for a few days.

Once the pain subsides, however, we'll all take a breath and realize just what we've bore witness to over the last four years. In fact, it's already starting to settle in a little.

The numbers alone beggar belief -- 13,077 career passing yards (state record), 218 career touchdowns (state record), 46 total victories and of course that state championship.

But the true measure of Deshaun Watson's greatness goes way beyond numbers, and anyone who had the pleasure of watching him play -- or the pain of playing against him -- will tell you, he was simply on another level.

We will not see another like him for a long time. And he and standouts like Devan Stringer, Jay Gaudlock, Chastin Newman and plenty more created something special at an already storied program.

"It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to coach someone like him," Gainesville football coach Bruce Miller said of Watson. "I hate to see him graduate. But he's going on to bigger and better things, and I hope we will too."

It should tell you something that, even after edging past Gainesville in the last minutes of a game that threatened to turn into a swim meet in the fourth quarter, a number of Tucker players gathered round the quarterback to shake hands and share a moment.

They too know his greatness.

And yet it should tell you something even more that, after the game, emotions still pouring forth, Watson's thoughts were only of the Gainesville program and his teammates -- the pride he feels for both evident as he talked of a never-say-die attitude and desire that so nearly sent the Red Elephants back to the turf of the Georgia Dome.

"This game showed the effort and the heart that we have here at Gainesville," said Watson. "We just couldn't pull it out in the end and that happens sometimes."

Players like Watson, however -- and runs like Gainesville's over his time at the school -- don't happen that frequently.

The Red Elephants will move on; they are a proud and tradition-rich program that will most certainly re-load over the coming months in preparation for 2014. But even Gainesville knows it will be near impossible to replace a player of Watson's ability.

It has been a to pleasure watch.

-- Morgan Lee is sports editor for Access North Georgia.com
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bartus, Icemen shuts out Gwinnett
Garrett Bartus pitched a 42 save shutout, as the Evansville IceMen topped the Gwinnett Gladiators on a New year
10:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Gator Bowl Preview Capsule
A rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl, which Georgia won 45-31 in Orlando.
8:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Millsap's 34 leads Hawks past Celtics
Paul Millsap had season highs with 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Hawks rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday afternoon.
7:44PM ( 1 year ago )
Sports
Big Red Shootout: Buford foils Lady Elephants' upset bid in finale
Buford junior Camille Anderson knows to forget about the past during games.
11:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Boys basketball: Knights rebound with win over Centennial
The Johnson boys bounced back after a loss to Grayson on Friday with a 94-72 win Saturday night over Centennial in the Duluth Jingle Jam.
10:43PM ( 1 year ago )
Girls basketball: Dawson falls in Battle of States finals
Dawson County fell behind early and could not complete the comeback in a 70-65 loss to Hayesville, N.C. in the championship game of The Battle of the States Tournament Saturday night.
10:38PM ( 1 year ago )
High School Sports
Snelling to make curtain call at East-West Classic (Video)
Ask Walt Snelling about Gainesville football and you will be supplied with a litany of great players and games from a program with an illustrious history.
7:33PM ( 1 year ago )
High School football 2013: Superlatives abound after another special season
After letting it soak in for a few days we
7:42PM ( 1 year ago )
Friday Game Night
Quinn taking up-tempo approach to rebuilding Falcons
As Seattle's defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn helped lead Seattle to two straight Super Bowls, including one championship. Quinn opens his first training camp as Falcons coach on Friday trying to overhaul Atlanta's woeful unit.
2:52PM ( 2 hours from now )
Orioles' Davis homers twice, rough up Braves, Teheren
Chris Davis homered twice and drove in five runs, and the Baltimore Orioles cruised past the Atlanta Braves 7-3 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory.
By The Associated Press
7:41AM ( 4 hours ago )
Roger Goodell upholds Tom Brady's 4-game suspension
NEW YORK (AP) — The commissioner pointed to concealed evidence. The team described it as a folly. And the agent added sham to the lexicon of "Deflategate."Then the players' union said it would take it...
12:33AM ( 11 hours ago )
G-Braves' win streak reaches 5 with win over Durham
The Gwinnett Braves exploded for five runs in the first inning and went on to a 9-3 win over the Durham Bulls on Tuesday at Coolray Field.
By AccessWDUN staff
10:26PM ( 13 hours ago )
Mardy Fish handed first-round loss to Dudi Sela in Atlanta
The first stop of Mardy Fish's farewell tour ended quickly with a 6-4, 6-4 first-round loss to Dudi Sela in the Atlanta Open on Tuesday night.
By The Associated Press
9:53PM ( 14 hours ago )