Interview by Abernathy Cochran intern and Flowery Branch High senior Traci Timmons
Meet Elijah Gainey! Elijah is a senior at Flowery Branch High School and has been the school’s quarterback for the last three years. He began playing football when he was just five years old and in August, he verbally committed to the University of Southern Alabama to continue his football career at the Division 1 level. He plans on majoring in business or sports management.
Elijah is originally from Huntsville, Ala. but has lived in Hall County for 12 years with his parents Mike and Jen, his brother Abraham, and his dog Caesar. When playing football, you’ll most likely find Elijah with his family playing video games with his brother.
We want to thank Elijah for spending time with us before practice and telling us about his love of Hall County!
Question: What inspired you or led you to start playing football?
Answer: “Well, my dad was a football coach, and he pushed football on me and my brother ever since we were little. For me, it was more like I just had a love for the sport, so I just followed my passion to play football, and it ended up being my favorite thing to do.”
Q: What would you say is the motto for Flowery Branch football team?
A: “Time on target.’ It’s like a military term which means everyone accomplishing the same goal at the same time and basically clicking on all cylinders at the same time, so where everything is working exactly how it should, and everything’s perfect.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Hall County, and what do you get there?
A: “Probably La Casa del Taco which is like right down the road, and I usually get the burrito because it’s ginormous. I can’t even finish it, so I usually have food to take home, and it’s cheap.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: “I’ve always wanted to go to Greece. Just because it looks really cool. The pictures of all the houses on the hills, right on the water just looks really cool. I feel like it would just be a cool experience.”
Q: What are your favorite pair of shoes that you own?
A: “My Adidas Human Races. They’re designed by Pharrell, and they’re really cool shoes. If not those, then probably my Yeezy’s.”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “Win a state championship for Flowery Branch. I can’t do that as a player anymore, but my goal is to after college, come here and be a coach, and hopefully coach a state championship here.”
Q: What are three bands or artists would you like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “No. 1 Trippie Redd. No. 2 Lauren Daigle. I actually get to see her in May which is really cool. And then No. 3 … That’s tough. Probably Travis Scott because I watched a documentary, and the live performances look awesome, so I was like ‘I got to see him in concert.’”
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Hall County?
A: “I think how close-knit Hall County is the best part. No matter where you go, most of the people are always nice, especially in Flowery Branch. The community is so tight, and it’s like a family really, and you really know everyone. Being in such a smaller county is really nice because you can really know everyone and relate and all that stuff.”
Q: (Even your friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “This is kind of deep, but me personally, everyone just sees me as the quarterback for Flowery Branch, but no one knows the side of me where I actually have trouble being confident in myself and my abilities, and that’s kind of being vulnerable or whatever, but I don’t care. Sometimes I just have trouble being confident in myself, so I just have to reassure myself.”
Q: What three words or phrases that come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: “Flowery Branch, football, and personally me, just probably God. Having a relationship with God just feels like home.”
Q: What advice would you give to a crowd of people?
A: “I’m a faith-based person, so I’d probably say keep God first, and even in the lowest of times just never give up because there can be hope found. Even in the worst situations there’s always hope no matter how bad it gets. I just hate seeing people lose hope. Just keep on pushing through whatever you’re going through, and keep God first. Not everything is going to be perfect in life, but if you just keep on pushing, it’ll eventually get better.”
Q: Who is the most interesting person that you’ve met here in Hall County? Who would you like to see nominated as a Face of Hall County?
A: “Probably Ricardo Allen. He’s a safety for the Atlanta Falcons. I met him on Saturday, and obviously, he’s famous I guess because he plays for the Falcons, and he was a really down to earth guy. He gave me advice on my recovery from my injury and all that stuff, and it just helped a lot, so that was pretty cool.”
Q: If you were a guest star on any TV show, what would it be? And why?
A: “Big Brother just because that’s my favorite show, and I’ve watched it ever since I was little, and I’ve always thought I could be the best player at that game. I’ve watched it so much, and I feel like I have the perfect balance of being physically competitive and then also being mentally smart and not overreacting to anything. It just looks like a really fun show. To be able to win $500,000 would be kind of cool.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
A: “In five years, depending on if I red-shirt in college, I could be in my senior year…or an assistant somewhere. In 10 years, hopefully, I’ll be here, and if Coach Hall’s still here, I want to help be one of his assistants. And, if they’re looking for a new head coach, maybe be a head coach depending on the situation.”
Q: If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
A: “Someone to help clean my room. I don’t know maybe a maid because my life’s just so busy. I’m always going somewhere. I’m always doing something. I don’t really have time to clean up, not saying I’m a dirty person, but I have clothes everywhere. I have ‘the chair’ with all my clothes.”