EVANS - Gainesville's players put themselves in a position that virtually every high school baseball team dreams of.
In a lesser playoff series, Caleb Whitenton's go-ahead home run or Mikey Gonzalez's heads-up tag at third base might have been the defining moment.
With the green light to swing on a 3-0 count, Caleb Whitenton saw the pitch he was looking for and cut his bat loose.
Fabian Abarca gave the home crowd at Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium a moment of jubilation when he put the ball in the back of the net with less than two minutes remaining.
If Mark Dunn had chosen any other year to retire as Chestatee girls soccer coach, his remarkable career would have already been over by this point in the season.
Cesar Salcido extended his body as far as he could. It turned out to be just far enough to send Gainesville's boys soccer team forward in the playoffs.
Over and over again, Gainesville's girls were agonizingly close to the goal they needed.
For everything Rick Howard earned Saturday - a region championship trophy, a milestone victory and a plaque to commemorate it - his players' gestures of respect might be what sticks with the Gainesville boys soccer coach the longest.
LAWRENCEVILLE - Buford coach Tony Wolfe describes pitcher Connor Bennett as a "bulldog" on the mound, especially in relief appearances.
Even when Madison County saw glimpses of success against Corbin Lewallen at the plate, the North Hall left-hander continued to torment the Red Raiders once they reached the basepaths.
BUFORD - The team poster hanging on the wall outside Buford coach Gene Durden's office tells a year's worth of storyline in only two words.
Sid Maxwell said football is still in his blood. A year away from the sideline has done nothing to change that.
Jeff Steele could only tip his hat to a performance unlike anything the Johnson boys basketball coach had ever seen - one good enough to end the previously unbeaten Knights' historic season.
If the Johnson boys have any remaining doubters this season, they'll need to find a new knock against the Knights. There will be no second-round exit for the team this season.
BUFORD - Buford coach Gene Durden had to get the Lady Wolves back to their "bread and butter" to finally gain the separation they needed against Westover.
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Tom Riden Stadium has played host to plenty of elite high school football players during Buford High School's run to 10 state championships over the past 14 seasons.
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