Deshaun Watson was glad to get Thursday morning behind him. Gainesville's starting quarterback, and the state's all-time leading passer, was finally able to sign a financial aid award letter with Clemson University, officially making him a Tiger.
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.
Of all the things Chase Sims remembers from the Battle of Oakwood last year, his first game as a member of Johnson's varsity roster, it was the noise that stuck with him the most.
Gainesville at Grayson
Week 0 gave area football fans a taste of what is to come this season, highlighted by a nationally-televised defensive battle between No. 1 Buford and Trinity Christian Academy of Jacksonville, Fla.
BUFORD - Top-ranked Buford didn't waste any time Saturday night.
Jess Simpson knew that if he was going to schedule a season opener worthy of his zealous fan base, he better schedule the best team he could.
JEFFERSON – Jefferson's season started off about as flawless as any team could hope for.
DANIELSVILLE - Early turnovers put Johnson in a hole that it never found a way out of against Madison County.
Chestatee lineman Matthew Pruitt couldn't see teammate Kris Pierce bring a 55-yard interception back for a touchdown halfway through the third quarter of Thursday's scrimmage against East Hall.
The spring workouts wrapped up long ago. The summer conditioning program is through. Preseason tests are out of the way.