JEFFERSON - If you take a left out of Jackson County Comprehensive High School, cross over Highway 129 and make the first left on Memorial Drive, you will find yourself at Memorial Stadium - the home of the Jefferson High School Dragons.
Jamond Witt has always been a pretty good decision maker.
With its win Friday over defending 8-AAAA champions Apalachee at Falcon Field, Flowery Branch, as a new region member after eight seasons in 7-AAA, has placed itself in the discussion to be this year's region champ.
Three touchdowns in one game is a good night for any football player. But when a player scores one each on offense, defense and special teams - like Lumpkin County's Ian McIntosh did in a 35-0 win over Riverside in Dahlonega - then it's a historic night.
In Jackson County, on Jefferson Road, lies a bridge that runs over the North Oconee River. That bridge separates two high schools - Commerce and Jefferson - that are engaged in one of the richest football rivalries in the state.
Virtually no team at any level in any sport, is where it wishes it was.
A perennial playoff contender, the Tigers reached the postseason for the 13th straight season last year, but keeping that streak alive won't be easy for coach Steve Savage.
Habersham Central coach Stuart Cunningham said it's the Raiders' goal to return to the playoffs, somewhere they haven't been since 2007, when they won region and finished 11-2 under coach Gene Cathcart.
With Union County having lost 16 seniors and "85-90 percent" of its total offense, coach Brian Allison considers 2010 a rebuilding year for the Panthers.
After finishing 2008 at 6-5, the Leopards had high hopes for 2009 but a plague of injuries struck and the team only managed two wins.
Coach Kyle Langford has never shied away from giving young players a lot of time on the field.
Perennial power Buford comes into this season as the three-time defending champions of Class AA and ranked No. 1 in the Georgia Associated Press preseason poll.
JEFFERSON - The 2010 season brings a change to the area that gave the Jackson County Panthers the most trouble last year - region play.
Dawson County hasn't had a winning season since 2005, when the Tigers finished 7-3. Since then, they haven't won more than three games in a season and went 1-9 last year.
JEFFERSON - The Dragons ended 2009 with a heartbreaking 30-22 loss at home to eventual Class AA state champion Buford. That capped off back-to-back undefeated regular seasons and region titles for Jefferson, but in order to accomplish a three-peat, the Dragons can't afford any backsliding in what appears to be a very competitive Region 8-AA.
JEFFERSON - In a perfect world, Jefferson head coach Ben Hall would like to limit how much senior Dalton Hill drops back to punt. But Hall knows that when Hill does get his hands on the football, he's capable of dramatically shifting field position.
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