BUFORD - Buford High's run to a fourth straight Class AA championship got off on the right foot Friday with a convincing 52-22 victory over Hart County in the opening round of the playoffs at Tom Riden Stadium.
For the past two years, the Gainesville Red Elephants have made a habit of blowing out their first-round opponents.
The Commerce High football team fell 34-24 to Bremen in the first round of the Class A state playoffs Friday night at Bremen Athletic Field.
The loss was the last game at the helm for Tigers' coach Steve Savage, who will retire after 22 years as head coach.
Gainesville vs. Haralson County
His teammates call him rookie, but ask anyone who has seen him play and they're all likely to say the same thing: Gainesville High freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson is playing well beyond his years.
Flowery Branch's reward for starting the football season 9-0 and finishing second in Region 8-AAAA is a date with one of the most storied football programs in Georgia.
COMMERCE - For the past 33 years there have been two constants at Commerce High: a winning football program and coach Steve Savage.
BUFORD - Everything surrounding Buford High's football program this time of the year is upbeat.
The Buford High football team remains No. 2 in Class AA in the latest Georgia Prep Football Poll, which was released Tuesday by The Associated Press.
CLEVELAND - For the first time since 2007, White County's football program spent the first Monday afternoon following the end of the regular season by preparing for another football game. The stakes now are sudden death in the Class AAA tournament and the competition will also be good, but the Warriors (8-2) took to the practice field like it was just another practice, even though the excitement level has gone up a notch or two for Friday's playoff opener against LaGrange (5-5).
Going into the 2010 season, the biggest question at Gainesville High was how well freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson could direct a Red Elephant offense that made it to the state finals last season.
BOGART - A shutout loss that cost North Oconee the region title left the Titans smarting all week.
Friday night's results showed once again why "defense wins championships" is one of football's oldest clichés.
Led by Quan Clark's 181 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries, Chestatee finished its season with a 29-21 win Friday over Walnut Grove at War Eagle Stadium.
North Hall ended its season with a 52-28 victory on Friday night at The Brickyard to finish the season at .500 overall.
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.