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.
For Flowery Branch, tonight's game at second-ranked Northside-Warner Robins is more than a season opener.
For all the eye-popping statistics that Deshaun Watson posted during his record-setting 2012 season, the categories where he avoided large numbers may have been just as important to Gainesville's state championship run.
Chattooga at East Hall
Antonio Pittman's role as a West Hall Spartan has been increasing ever since he first stepped onto the field in Oakwood.
Dawson County struck big in crucial situations to open the season Friday against East Hall in Gainesville. Leading by a small margin with five minutes left to play, Tigers (1-0, 1-0 Region 7-AAA) quarterback Zack Buchan hit running back Cody Lamar in the open field on a third-and-long at the 30 and ran 70 yards for the score, propelling Dawson County to a 29-27 win.
Andrew Smith and Brannon Dyer were the catalysts for the North Hall offense in a 42-31 scrimmage win against Salem (Va.) on Friday in Virginia.
OAKWOOD - This year, the Battle of Oakwood went to the Spartans of West Hall.
Dawson County at East Hall