BUFORD - Nobody within earshot of Tom Riden Stadium would have wanted to trade places with Jack Geraghty on Friday night in Buford.
It was a little more difficult to decipher what the most compelling local story to the high school football season was this year over most.
It's always fun to watch the reaction of a team experiencing success in the playoffs that isn't used to playing once the regular season is complete. This year, that team is White County.
It was pretty obvious that Friday's Region 8-AAA title victory for Gainesville was especially sweet. Not many people were going to bet money when the season started that the Red Elephants would be the ones hoisting the region title trophy like they did.
I'd really like to hear from the fans as to where they stand on this region play-in format for high school football in Region 8-AAA and 8-AA now that we're almost done with the regular season. Personally, I still can't decide where I come down on the issue.
Speaking with Lumpkin County's B.J. Dorsey last Tuesday afternoon outside the school's football field house, it was apparent how deep it hurt to deliver the news to his teammates and coaches.
With all the great accomplishments in Flowery Branch High's relatively short history playing football, this season may end up taking the cake. This year, the Falcons are off to their first 7-0 start in school history, despite having a new signal caller after the last of the remarkably-talented Shaws graduated, a new running back after last year's star running back moved to North Hall, and moving up a classification in competition.
I spoke with East Hall football coach Bryan Gray on Sunday about what his secret is to rebuilding a program that was near the basement in the state. How do you introduce talking about playoffs into the vocabulary of players that didn't have much experience winning?
It was amazing to see the passion that White County's football team played with in its subregion victory against Lumpkin County last Friday. I dug through my memory bank and couldn't recall an instance where a high school team in any sport played with such resiliency under tremendously adverse conditions.
Region 8-AAA may be one of the most interesting regions in the state to follow down the stretch with so many teams playing at a playoff caliber. Unlike in some year's past in Region 7-AAA, there are more teams that are strong enough to contend for the playoffs than the four postseason spots allow.
One of the perks of my job as a sports writer is to catch so many moments on the athletic fields in the moment. It helps put things into proper context and perspective. I've seen the thrill of victory through the eyes of those on the team, and agony of defeat unfiltered. Then, there's the moments that simply go under the category of 'did that really just happen'?
Truly, the one and only game that captures my attention on the high school football calendar is upon us this week: Gainesville vs. North Hall. With the high school season and college season overlapping, most of my attention during the fall is centered exclusively around the University of Georgia's game for the weekend, and if possible, seeing kids locally on the high school field that the Bulldogs are targeting.
One of the good things about high school football, is that coaches can plug in athletes - regardless of size - into unconventional positions.
None of the greatest moments in University of Georgia football history ever took place during the G-Day spring football game, but it's still a salve for the thousands and thousands of Bulldog fans who are ready to turn the page to a hopefully more enjoyable 2014 season.
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