Gainesville - For thirty years legendary head coach Bruce Miller set the standard in Gainesville. Miller's teams won eight region championships and a state title in 2012 with quarterback Deshaun Watson leading the way. So when he decided to retire in January 2018, Miller said he felt the Red Elephants needed a new voice. So far, new head coach Heath Webb's coaching style is speaking volumes.
”It's a football loving community which is one of the main reasons I wanted to be here,” Webb told High 5 Sports. "They take it serious, and they pour time and resources into it, so that's what attracted me to the job. You know, coming to City Park to play as a visitor for all those years, it was such a cool place to play even as an opposing coach obviously with that tradition”
Webb's Red Elephants won Week Two honors as High 5 Sports Team of the Week after a 27-21 opening week victory over Mary Persons, a team that throttled Gainesville last season 42-0.
"We kind of used that as motivation during the offseason...we said all along that this (rematch with Mary Persons) is going to show just how much better we've gotten, and we just played hard. Both our offensive and defensive lines were outstanding, and we ended up running for 344 yards, so it was a really fun line of scrimmage ballgame."
Six-foot-six, 320 pound right tackle Jordan Williams, a Georgia Tech commit, anchors the offensive line, while the defensive side features South Carolina commit Makius Scott setting the physical tone.
Webb is no stranger to turning around football programs. He inherited a 2-8 Winder-Barrow team in 2013 and promptly won six games in each of his first two seasons. His fourth and final year his Bulldoggs finished 9-3; an impressive record at a school not considered a football power. Before his stint in Winder, Webb built the North Paulding football program from scratch in 2008, winning 17 games in four years at the new school. While coaching the Wolfpack, he developed players like wide receiver Chris Conley, who starred at Georgia and currently plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Webb hopes to do the same at Gainesville.
"We only had five players last year who had varsity experience, so we had to literally start making players- and a lot of work went into that just getting them bigger, faster and stronger. We spent a lot of time on the character development part of the program as well, trying to develop them into great young men," said Webb.
The Red Elephants will take a couple of hours to celebrate their early season success with Good Day Atlanta's Paul Milliken Thursday morning with a campus pep rally that can be seen live on FOX 5 beginning in the 8 o'clock hour.