GAINESVILLE — JD Brooks ran for 135 yards and four touchdowns to lead another punishing ground assault by the Gainesville offense in a 51-21 Red Elephants victory over Apalachee Friday night at City Park Stadium.
The win for Gainesville, its third straight, clinched a playoff spot outright and the Red Elephants (5-4, 3-1 Region 8-6A) are still alive for a No. 2 seed and a home playoff game.
The Red Elephants ran for 318 yards, the third straight game they have eclipsed that mark, while the defense held Apalachee (2-7, 0-4) to 113 yards on the ground until a final play 75-yard touchdown run by the Wildcats’ Shaan Cook.
Gainesville will now play host to No. 5 Lanier (8-1, 3-1) next week with the winner grabbing the No. 2 from Region 8-6A in the upcoming state playoffs.
Dez Brown and Gionni Williams also provided Gainesville with some solid rushes. Williams had 91 yards rushing and one score to go with 118 yards passing. Brown had 76 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Brown started things off for Gainesville capping the opening drive of the game with a 6-yard TD run less than two minutes in. After Cook tied the game on the Wildcats' first drive, Brooks gave the Red Elephants the lead for good on a 15-yard scoring run late in the first quarter.
Brooks extended Gainesville’s lead to 28-7 in the second quarter on a pair of touchdown runs before Apalachee pulled within 28-14 with an 18-yard TD pass from AJ Forbing to Cook with just 1 second left.
The third quarter was the difference. Gainesville held the Wildcats scoreless in the period while a Brooks 8-yard TD run and a 1-yard Williams TD run sandwiched a safety by the defense to extend the lead to 44-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Red Elephants’ final score came on an 11-yard TD run by Brown early in the fourth quarter.