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.
BUFORD - Thomas Wilson scored two touchdowns in just over a minute and Tyler Winslow returned a blocked punt 14 yards as the Buford Wolves blew open what was a close second-round playoff matchup against Woodward Academy on Friday night at Tom Riden Stadium to win 40-7.
ROSWELL - The No. 1-seed Blessed Trinity Titans defeated the No. 2-seed White County Warriors 38-0 in the second round of the AAA state playoffs, Friday night at Titan Field.
Dawson County picked up its first win of 2014, knocking off Franklin County 25-7 on Friday night in Carnesville.
SUGAR HILL - Messiah Dorsey is done with it.
Jefferson's Colby Wood tallied 115 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns as the fourth-ranked Dragons rolled to a 51-16 victory against Morgan County on Friday in Madison.
Buford topped the 50-point mark for the fourth time this season Friday night in a 56-0 win over North Hall.
Lakeview saw its two-game win streak ended Friday in a 34-14 loss to George Walton Academy in Monroe.
Riverside Military Academy fell to Washington-Wilkes 13-10 on Friday at Maginnis Field in Gainesville.
Once West Hall took the lead, Kwon Williams wasn't about to let the Spartans give it away.
There wasn't a lot of mystery with what went wrong after a promising start for Flowery Branch on Friday.
Senior running back Trevor O'Brien muffed the opening kickoff, then picked it up and ran 72 yards.
Fumbles plagued the Panthers in a messy 42-13 loss to Elbert County on Friday in Jefferson.
Towns County was shut out by Athens Christian 46-0 Friday night in Athens.
Stephens County defeated White County 30-10 on Friday night in Toccoa.
Chestatee fell on the road to Madison County 49-28 on Friday in Danielsville.
DAWSONVILLE- East Hall picked up its first Region 7-AAA win in a hotly-contested game against Dawson County on Friday night, holding on for a 36-29 victory.
At least it's over.