Last season, Hall County's two newest schools celebrated their 10-year anniversaries by both hosting first-round state playoff football games.
After enduring eight losing seasons in the past 10 years, West Hall will make its return to the playoffs tonight with a visit to second-ranked Cartersville.
M.L. King at Gainesville
At this time last season, Gainesville High appeared to be a football team in free fall.
The high school football state playoffs begin this Friday for the state's five largest classifications. The postseason will stretch across the next five weeks, with the state championship games being played Dec. 13-14 inside the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Quarterback Daniel McCrary and wide receiver Johnathan Gilreath ended their careers at Lumpkin County on a particularly high note on Friday in the regular season finale, even though making the playoffs was out of the question.
For the second straight year, Gainesville faced a surging Flowery Branch team in the fourth quarter with a region title on the line.
North Hall came into Friday night's game with chance to emerge as Region 7-AAA champs. But with a 42-14 win, top-ranked Buford showed why it's considered by many to be the frontrunner not only for the region, but for a second-straight state title as well.
DAWSONVILLE - Tony Lotti had an important phone call to make.
Lumpkin County ended its season with a 31-28 upset win over Stephens County, the No. 4 seed in Region 8-AAAA, on Friday in Toccoa.
Chestatee finished its regular season and tuned up for the state playoffs Friday with a 42-0 win over Madison County at War Eagle Stadium.
Luis Sanchez's game-winning field goal with four seconds left lifted Jackson County past Morgan County 38-35 on Friday in Jefferson, sending the Panthers to the Class AAA state playoffs for the second straight year.
Devan Stringer had every reason to smile after Gainesville claimed the Region 8-AAAAA title on its own home field Friday.
Riverside Military Academy capped its season with a 30-26 win over Greene County.
SUGAR HILL - Chestatee coach Stan Luttrell has told his players all season long to give "four quarters and then some."
CLEVELAND - White County just proved it can play with the big boys in Region 7-AAA.
CONYERS - Flowery Branch shutout Heritage 33-0 on Friday night.
Josh Thomas scored three times and tallied 119 yards on the ground to lead Buford to a 42-10 win over Dawson County on Friday in Dawsonville.
Riverside Military Academy's Collin Pettell finished 10 for 10 passing for 338 yards and five touchdowns in a 56-14 win over Social Circle on Friday in Gainesville.
Less than two years into the Tony Lotti era at West Hall, it's safe to say the Spartans are running ahead of schedule.
ATHENS - Even with a slow start on offense, Friday night's game proved that once the Gainesville offense starts rolling, it is hard to stop.
Union County blanked Greene Coutny 42-0 on Friday in Blairsville.
Commerce defeated Athens Academy 28-7 on Friday in Athens.
Habersham Central fell to 0-8 with a 41-0 loss to undefeated North Gwinnett on Friday in Mount Airy.
The Eastside Eagles won their annual homecoming contest Friday night at Sharp Stadium defeating Lumpkin County 28-12.
Fannin County squeaked past Banks County 6-0 on Friday in Homer.
Jackson County fell 54-14 to undefeated Hart County on Friday in Jefferson.
Jefferson blanked Oglethorpe County 41-0 on Friday in Lexington.
St. Francis defeated Lakeview Academy 14-7 on Friday night at Jock Hornor Field in Gainesville.