Gainesville High quarterback Deshaun Watson was named the 2013-2014 Gatorade Georgia Football Player of the Year, according to an announcement made Thursday by The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports.
BUFORD - Buford coach Jess Simpson might have the best backup quarterback in Georgia.
This is the most fun time of year to play high school football for those still in the running.
Just like last season, Gainesville's football team will have to find a way to win in enemy territory in order to reach the Class AAAAA state championship game in The Georgia Dome. Buford, meanwhile, can punch its ticket to the Class AAA title contest in the friendly confines of Tom Riden Stadium.
Not even a tender left shoulder on quarterback Deshaun Watson or a potent Mundy's Mill running game could keep Gainesville from earning a win in the state quarterfinals on Friday at City Park Stadium.
The Gainesville Red Elephants are starting to become very comfortable at playing football when the weather turns cold.
BARNESVILLE - Despite being in unfamiliar territory on Friday against Jefferson, Lamar County didn't panic.
BUFORD - It wasn't pretty, but Buford's quarterfinal matchup with fellow state power Carver-Columbus finished in usual fashion - with the Wolves on top.
This isn't uncharted territory for the Gainesville Red Elephants. If anything, the members of Gainesville's football team expected to be here, practicing the week of Thanksgiving and playing in a high-profile quarterfinal matchup on Black Friday.
JEFFERSON - Trailing by three points in the closing minutes of last week's second-round playoff matchup at Heard County, Jefferson's defense was able to do something it hadn't been able to do all game long: Make a stop.
BUFORD - Lately it's almost a given that top-ranked Buford will face Carver-Columbus in the playoffs.
Tickets for Gainesville's Class AAAAA state quarterfinal game Friday against Mundy's Mill will be on sale from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the school's lobby.
One of the few uncertain moments for top-ranked Buford (12-0) came early Saturday morning with a coin flip to determine home field for Friday's state quarterfinal game against No. 4 Carver-Columbus (11-1).
Out of all the impressive things Gainesville did in its second-round playoff win against South Paulding, it was a brilliant third quarter that stood out the most. The Red Elephants (11-1) scored touchdowns on all four offensive possessions in the third period, while stifling the Spartans' offense, to secure a 51-12 win at City Park Stadium.
TYRONE - Chestatee made major strides during its 2013 season, building a campaign that reached historic levels in the program's short history.
The field has been painted and the lights will come on Friday night for postseason football in Oakwood.
Gainesville vs. Creekview
A chilly wind swirled around East Hall coach Bryan Gray as he laid out his team's mission Friday night at Hart County.
Gainesville finished the regular season with a much different feeling than it started just three months ago.
East Hall outlasted Banks County in a thrilling 35-21 win on Friday at East Hall Stadium to lock up a No. 3 seed for the state playoffs from Region 7-AAA.
West Hall's regular season began with an empty picture frame.
HARTWELL - Coming into Friday night's region championship-deciding game between the Jefferson Dragons and Hart County Bulldogs, it was the offenses that had all the attention as the driving forces behind both teams' 9-0 records.
The White County High football team is going back to the playoffs for a program-record third straight season and fourth time in five years.
Union County held on in the closing moments to earn a heart-stopping 35-34 win over Washington-Wilkes on Friday in Blairsville.
Habersham Central fell to Chattahoochee 35-28 on Friday in Mount Airy one week after ending its 21-game losing streak.
Dawson County earned its second win of the season in the 2014 finale, beating Johnson 28-0 on Friday in Dawsonville.
Commerce heads into the state playoffs with momentum after defeated Lakeview Academy 55-28 on Friday night in Commerce.
Riverside Military Academy closed out the 2014 season on a high note with Friday night's 34-14 victory in Social Circle.
Buford's defense held Stephens County to 46 total yards and only allowed the Indians to cross midfield once as the top-ranked Wolves captured their first championship in Region 8-AAAA with a 56-0 victory on Friday in Toccoa.
Monroe Area bested Chestatee 41-28 on Friday to cap a disappointing season for both teams at Monroe.