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PREVIEW: Apalachee at Gainesville

Apalachee's Austin Miller

Apalachee's Austin Miller

APALACHEE WILDCATS (8-AAAAA)

Coach: Shane Davis

Record: 1-1, 0-0 region

Last week: Had a bye

GAINESVILLE RED ELEPHANTS (8-AAAAA)

Coach: Bruce Miller

Record: 2-1, 1-0 region

Last week: Beat Winder-Barrow 69-0

After a week off following two tough contests to start this season, the Wildcats face their toughest test to date in the eighth-ranked Red Elephants, who have been on a roll after a season-opening loss to No. 6 (Class AAAAAA) West Forsyth.

Friday's game should feature a clear clash of styles, with Apalachee wanting to pound away with its ball-control, physical ground game behind running backs Eric Tanner and Zay Henry, while Gainesville would prefer to speed up the game with its no-huddle spread offense, led by Clemson-committed QB Deshaun Watson.

“It’s tough to simulate what they do,” Wildcats coach Shane Davis said of Gainesville. “That’s probably about 90 percent of the problem for teams that play them. It’s just not what we do. Our hope is that it will be tough for them to simulate what we do, too.”

Still, no matter how often Gainesville gets the ball, the Red Elephants will pose quite a challenge to the Wildcats’ defense, especially with stalwart defensive end Corey Hunt likely out with an injury.

So it will be up to others, like senior Austin Miller, who has seen time at defensive end in Miller’s absence, to step up and try to contain Gainesville’s playmakers.

Last meeting: First meeting between the two schools

Directions to Bobby Gruhn Field: I-85 North to I- 985 North to exit 22. Go north (left) toward Gainesville on Hwy. 129. Go through downtown. Continue on 129 North (Green Street). The Gainesville Civic Center will appear on the right. The field is to the left of the Civic Center