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.
White County used a wide range of players to work its way to a 38-13 win over Banks County on Friday in Homer.
CUMMING - Commerce had several close spots go its way as it converted first downs in crucial situations and finished with a total time of possession of 34:29 in a 24-14 victory over Pinecrest Academy on Friday at The Paladins' field.
COMMERCE - After last Friday's loss, East Jackson Eagles' head coach Gary Hughes said his team had to limit turnovers to stay in games.
Madison County scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to overcome Jackson County 27-21 on Friday in Jefferson.
After 11 straight seasons of futility in season openers, Forsyth Central finally started the schedule off on the right foot.
In typical Buford fashion, seven different names appeared on the scoring sheet during Friday night's 56-0 win over Berkmar at Tom Riden Stadium.
Riverside Military Academy's defense stole the show on Friday night in Roswell as J.J. McCalston, Tarik Holmes and Chris Howard combined to lead the Eagles to a 20-10 victory over Fellowship Christian.
West Hall coach Tony Lotti had his team vote last week to decide who would be the team's top 10 leaders in the locker room for the upcoming season.
A stifling defense and a freshman quarterback led Flowery Branch to a decisive victory against Chestatee on Friday night in the Hall County rivals' first matchup since 2009.
LOGANVILLE – Gainesville has two weeks to find some continuity on both sides of the ball before the region schedule begins. The season opener was far less than what coach Bruce Miller hoped for.
Rabun County held off Habersham Central 23-14 in the season-opener on Friday in Tiger.
Union County stormed past Towns County 57-14 win in the season opener on Friday in Hiawassee.
Commerce defeated Banks County 28-21 on Friday in the season opener for both teams in Commerce.
Pickens outlasted White County 42-34 in a wild offensive shootout Friday in Cleveland.
East Hall battled its way to a 20-13 win over Wesleyan in the season opener on Friday in Peachtree Corners.