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Saturday June 23rd, 2018 11:16PM

Gainesville hits another gear to down Branch as playoffs loom <b> (VIDEO) </b>

By staff
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FLOWERY BRANCH -- It was obvious Friday that Gainesville cares a lot about its rivalry with Flowery Branch.<br /> <br /> Already assured of the No. 2 seed from Region 8-AAAAA, the Red Elephants could have used the game as a warm-up for the playoffs. Instead, Gainesville came in already red hot, running away with a 49-7 win in Flowery Branch.<br /> <br /> The convincing win sends the Red Elephants into the Class AAAAA playoffs with plenty of momentum, where they will play host to Creekview in the first round at City Park -- a challenge Gainesville's players are relishing.<br /> <br /> "We have improved so much offensively and defensively, and we wanted to keep playing well," Gainesville receiver Chris Williamson said. "I couldn't be any happier with this team right now."<br /> <br /> Gainesville (8-2, 8-1 Region 8-AAAAA) gave itself plenty of reason to smile on Friday, sprinting to a 35-0 halftime lead thanks to a mix of deadly offense and stingy defense.<br /> <br /> Quarterback Mikey Gonzalez was the definition of accuracy, completing 12 of 14 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns -- two to Chris Williamson, who caught four balls for 130 yards. <br /> <br /> "Mikey was throwing darts out there," Williamson said of Gonzalez. "That was the best he's played all season. I couldn't be any more proud of my quarterback."<br /> <br /> Messiah Dorsey also hauled in three passes for 46 yards, while Rodney Lackey caught a touchdown.<br /> <br /> Gainesville's offense also had success on the ground, led by 129 yards and two rushing touchdowns for Michael Byrd. Williamson also had a touchdown run.<br /> <br /> "I knew it was a rivalry game and that Flowery Branch would come out and give us everything they had," Byrd said. "But we came out and played great."<br /> <br /> Gainesville rolled up 417 total yards on the night. The Falcons (5-5, 4-5) managed to rush for 194 yards -- 111 of that for Jeremiah Goss -- but only passed for 46.<br /> <br /> "We've come a long way. We kept adding on and adding on," Gainesville's Toddrick Turner said. "I think if we keep working hard we can go far (this postseason)."<br /> <br /> Flowery Branch's season is now complete.
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