The Buford softball program could hardly have scripted its first regular season in Class AAA much better.
Jefferson's upset win over seventh-ranked Washington-Wilkes on Friday did more than send a message to the rest of the state - it also set up a showdown between Region 8-AA's two frontrunners at the midway point of the season.
BUFORD - So far, so good in Buford's quest for a sixth consecutive state softball title. The Lady Wolves, who won five straight state championships in Class AA, claimed their first 7-AAA Region title on Thursday, topping Fannin County, 5-3.
If the message wasn't received when they knocked off playoff contender Eastside 57-56 in double overtime last week, you can bet that it was heard loud and clear Friday.
Proving once again that it really is a long season, four teams in Hall County have shaken off early-season losses to take an inside track in the race for the playoffs.
As assistant coaches, Flowery Branch's Chris Griffin and West Hall's Tony Lotti have seen their share of victories. But for the first on their register as head coaches, each had to wait a little longer than they would've liked.
For as long as Bob Christmas has been the coach at North Hall, two things could be counted on from the Trojans: the wing-T and winning football. It's ironic then, that after the program's first losing season since Christmas' first year in 2001, that the Trojans have rediscovered their winning ways with a new offense.
Gainesville coach Bruce Miller hadn't planned to start the season with a loss, but that doesn't mean that last week's 32-30 defeat to West Forsyth didn't serve a purpose.
Dawson County rolled up another convincing win on Friday, putting up big numbers behind senior quarterback Tyler Dominy and moving to 2-0 for the first time since 2005.
FLOWERY BRANCH - No one needs to stress the importance of tonight's game to any one in the Flowery Branch locker room. For a nonregion game, the anticipation could scarcely be greater for the fourth-ranked Falcons' season-opening showdown with second-ranked Northside-Warner Robins.
Marcus Dupree is widely considered one of the greatest high school football players who ever lived.
No. 1: Gainesville at Flowery Branch, Nov. 9
Dawson County is entering the 2012 season with arguably higher expectations than the program has ever experienced.
With a challenging Region 7-AAA slate looming, the North Hall Lady Trojans are giving their coach plenty to be happy about. Following back-to-back shutouts last week, they won their third straight by a wide margin Tuesday, knocking off visiting Johnson, 9-1, in six innings.
One of Northeast Georgia's most successful high school basketball programs is now looking for a new head coach.