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Sunday May 29th, 2016 3:46AM

Gainesville claims Jefferson 7-on-7 tournament title

By Staff
JEFFERSON -- Gainesville football showed that it still has talent to spare in the post-Deshaun Watson era on Thursday.<br /> <br /> That talent will still have to prove itself on the field, but the Red Elephants gave themselves a confidence boost by winning a 7-on-7 tournament in Jefferson, defeating Jackson County 33-12 in the championship game.<br /> <br /> "Does that mean we're going to have a great season? I don't know," Gainesville coach Bruce Miller said. "You don't play the game in shorts. But it was good to see us compete and be successful."<br /> <br /> The stripped down version of football that is 7-on-7 is especially important for the person that will be filling current Clemson QB Watson's sizable shoes next season in Mikey Gonzalez, and the Red Elephants quarterback performed well in passing to his receivers and backs.<br /> <br /> "Mikey had an outstanding day," Miller said. "It's things he already knew. But it was big for him to play 10 games and have only two interceptions. He's such a good kid that even his teammates want to see him do well. He was Deshaun's biggest supporter over the past three years, and Deshaun is his biggest supporter now.<br /> <br /> "I've seen (Gonzalez) progress in the 7-on-7 tournaments we've played this summer. I've also seen Rodney Lackey, Messiah Dorsey and Michael Byrd make big strides and lead us."<br /> <br /> Miller also singled out the Gainesville defense for its performance on Thursday.<br /> <br /> "Lewis Cousins and Chris Byrd on defense really played well," Miller said. "It's fun to watch a team come together."<br /> <br /> Gainesville defeated Jefferson in the semifinals to reach the title game, while Jackson County edged out Lanier in its semifinal.<br /> <br /> The Red Elephants will wrap their summer 7-on-7 season in the Hall County FCA tournament at Johnson High in Oakwood on Thursday.
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