Johnson High coach Jason Roquemore has a feeling the best is yet to come in 2012.
First-year West Hall coach Tony Lotti roams the school's practice field wearing a shirt that speaks volumes to his vision for the program. The shirt itself isn't the eye catcher. It's a standard gray T-shirt with the Spartans logo imprinted near the top. However, it's what is below the Spartan head that everyone will notice. Pressed in black numbers that are big enough to see from a distance, it reads 11-16-12.
No. 1: Gainesville at Flowery Branch, Nov. 9
Johnson's players couldn't stop smiling after Friday's 19-13 win against West Hall in the annual Battle of Oakwood. Knights senior running back Cedric Harris felt like beating his team's archrival right out of the gate could serve as a turning point for a program that was winless in 2011.
DAWSONVILLE - The victory flag is up at Tiger Stadium, and the Dawson County football team stands atop Region 7-AAA.
Johnson senior running back Cedric Harris isn't giving away a closely guarded secret when he says Friday's game against West Hall will be the Knights' biggest game for 2012. It's always a big deal when the two high schools in Oakwood play. It even has its own title: The Battle of Oakwood.
East Hall at Dawson County
Georgia Prep Football Preseason Poll
Dawson County is entering the 2012 season with arguably higher expectations than the program has ever experienced.
The past two seasons have strayed from the norm for North Hall under coach Bob Christmas.
Building continuity is an annual struggle for East Hall, which breaks in a number of new players on a yearly basis.
Before most high school football teams in the state hit the gridiron for their first regular season game, the Johnson High football team will have already been tested.
One of the biggest blessings for first-year Riverside Military coach Gary Downs may be a bye week right away on Aug. 31.
It's all anybody wants to talk about, but it's also not until November.
It's shaping up to be an exciting season at Gainesville. The Red Elephants (12-2 in 2011) have one of the state's best high school quarterbacks, Deshaun Watson, along with a handful of receivers with speed, a trio of running backs who can help mix things up on offense and a deep group of defensive backs.
ACWORTH - Gainesville was in it to the very end.
JEFFERSON - The Jefferson Dragons' run at a second state championship in three seasons ended Friday night at Jefferson Memorial Stadium.
BUFORD - Determination helped Joshua Thomas and Buford take control Friday night and punch the Wolves' ticket into the state semifinals for an eighth consecutive season.
COMMERCE - It wasn't a win for the highlight reel, but Commerce coach Michael Brown will take it.
BUFORD - For Evyn Cooper, it was all about being the next man up.
HAMILTON – Mikey Gonzalez has carved out his own legacy for Gainesville. His year as the Red Elephants' signal-caller will be remembered for winning huge games with clutch performances.
JEFFERSON - The No. 1-seed Jefferson Dragons put together another dominant performance in the Class AAA state playoffs Friday night at Memorial Stadium, ousting the No. 3-seeded Dodge County Indians, 27-7.
COMMERCE - Once Will Thomas found running room, there was no stopping him.
Tapped out of energy from a three-hour slugfest and numb from freezing temperatures most of the night, Gainesville's players were still able to celebrate following Friday's playoff opener against Creekview.
Elbert County bested Lumpkin County 28-18 in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs on Friday night in Dahlonega.
BUFORD - Sixteen different players carried the ball as top-ranked Buford racked up 423 rushing yards on 36 carries to defeat Southeast Whitfield 63-0 in the opening round of the Class AAAA playoffs on Friday at Tom Riden Stadium.
HARTWELL - Bryan Gray looked over his team of quiet, disappointed East Hall Vikings and gave them a simple message following their 42-14 loss at Hart County.
The running of Kwon Williams and Tyquan Statham was a perfect analogy for the West Hall football team's mentality on Friday night. Quite simply, the Spartans refused to go down without a fight.
JEFFERSON - With freezing temperatures, it took a little time for the Jefferson Dragons' offense to warm up offensively during its Class AAA state playoff opener against the Franklin County Lions.
Model beat Union County 50-36 in the Class AA state playoff opener Friday in Blairsville.