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Murphy: Suspense building for high school season finale

POSTED: October 16, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The high school football season sure is going to be fun to watch down the home stretch to the playoffs. Whoever designed the schedule set the stage for a game in week 11 like Hall County hasn’t seen in a long time.

Barring an upset, Flowery Branch (6-1, 2-0 Region 7B-AAA) and sixth-ranked Gainesville (7-0, 3-0) will be undefeated in the race for the region title on the final day of the regular season. Fans around Gainesville and South Hall will be talking this one up until they tee it up on Nov. 7 at City Park.

The Red Elephants look like they should certainly go into the season finale with a 9-0 record. All Gainesville has to do is pick up wins against Gilmer (0-6, 0-3 Region 7A-AAA) and Johnson (1-6, 0-2).

The road for Flowery Branch is slightly harder, but still certainly manageable. The Falcons have East Hall (1-5, 0-2) and West Forsyth (5-1, 1-1). My frame of reference for the first-year Wolverines is the manner in which Gainesville won that game easily, 35-16, just a couple of weeks ago.The Falcons also have their bye week between the West Forsyth and Gainesville game.

Region 7-AAA needs a little drama at the end of the season like this game would provide. The idea of two teams with undefeated region records going into the end of the regular season is exciting for all fans to talk about.

The only suspense in recent seasons usually dealt with which team will take a certain playoff seed. Last year, North Hall crushed everyone in its path. In 2006, the Trojans didn’t clinch the region title until late, but there really wasn’t too much doubt among fans on how it would all pan out.

In 2005, Gainesville and Flowery Branch were clearly the top two teams in the region. The difference that year was the head-to-head matchup was much earlier in the season. Once Gainesville won that game, it had a clear path to the region title.

This season it appears we have two evenly matched teams just waiting to get a crack at each other. I’ve seen both play in person now. Gainesville and Flowery Branch are both great on defense. Each school has a solid running game. Passing isn’t a concern for either the Red Elephants or Falcons.

Now all they’ve got to do is take care of business the next two games. If that happens, fans in Hall County are going to be in for a game with the kind of hype we haven’t seen in a long time.



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