If the preseason volleyball rankings are any indication of the quality teams in Class AAA, than two teams from Area 7-AAA should be poised for a long and successful season.
There was unprecedented success in local high school softball in 2007.
Two volleyball teams from Area 7-AAA have been ranked in the top-10 of the first gasports.com coaches poll of the season. Flowery Branch enters the season ranked No. 6, while West Hall is ranked No. 9. In softball, defending Class AA champion Buford begins the year as the preseason No. 1, while Jefferson, who also reached the state tournament in 2007, enters the year ranked No. 9 in Class AA.
Flowery Branch senior safety Greg Palmer calls it a good pressure. The Falcons leader in the secondary knows the window is starting to close to secure a football scholarship with only one season left to play, and he wants to make the most of it.
Jeromy Yarbrough, a 2007 graduate of Gainesville High, signed a scholarship on July 3 to play football at Division II Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C. After splitting time between defensive tackle and linebacker with the Red Elephants, the 5-foot-9, 240-pound Yarbough will primarily play middle linebacker at Livingstone.
Led by the Flowery Branch boys team, four area teams are listed in gatfxc.com's Class AAA preseason cross country poll.
Area football teams have been working all summer in preparation for this: The first day of practice, and the chance to put on a helmet and pads and hit each other.
OAKWOOD - Johnson High football coach Paul Friel stayed busy watching his quarterbacks throw, receivers run exact routes and lineman work on blocking technique Friday as high school football practice opened.
Tasi Suaava manages to look past the frustration.
Banks County football coach Blair Armstrong didn't know what kind of running back he had in Justin Beasley when he took the job in 2007, but it didn't take him long to find out.
In more ways than one, Flowery Branch rising junior Connor Shaw could follow in the footsteps of his older brother Jaybo Shaw.
OAKWOOD - Even the quickest glance at the den in the Ernst family's Oakwood home shows the pictures of happier times in Brian Ernst's life; before fighting a potentially deadly form of cancer became part of his reality.
Five years ago, North Hall High softball coach Roger Fannon put together an effective way of kicking off fast pitch season following a state runner-up season in Class AAA.
OAKWOOD - When the East Hall and Chestatee football teams wound up in a goal-line situation Saturday at Johnson High School, it only helped magnify the difference between the camp the teams were competing in and a normal Friday night under the lights.
If Kiante Young has any regrets, it's waiting until his junior season at East Hall High to start playing football. This rising senior always thought basketball was going to be his ticket to a college scholarship.
Chestatee's Bridgette Kelly knew basketball season would be different for her this year as the only returning starter on the squad, but she didn't expect to find her groove shooting as early as she has.
BUFORD - In the end, Buford's height and athleticism was too much for East Hall.
J.B. Britte scored with just half of a second left in regulation for Lakeview Academy to earn the 54-53 win against Commerce on Tuesday in Gainesville.
Avery Cagle poured in 31 points for Riverside Military in a 65-27 victory over Atlanta International on Saturday in Atlanta. C.J. Howarded added 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Eagles (3-1). Riverside hosts Towns County on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
James Hodges recorded his third-straight double-double for Johnson with 32 points and 10 rebounds in a 65-51 win against Lanier on Friday in Oakwood.
Although the 2013 sports season hasn't yet drawn to a close, the Georgia High School Association's recent reclassification and region alignment procedures already have schools making plans for Fall 2014 and beyond.
Two local regions are scheduled to undergo dramatic shakeups, while several others will experience more subtle changes in the latest Georgia High School Association realignment.
The Jefferson boys basketball team is preparing for its move to Class AAA next year with a simple strategy: Play Class AAA teams now.
Paisley Lee tallied 12 points for the Gainesville girls in a 57-19 win against Apalachee on Tuesday in Winder.
Sydney Cleveland tallied 28 points for North Hall in a 73-41 win against Lakeview Academy on Monday in Gainesville.
David Sokol led South Forsyth's boys basketball team to its fair share of signature wins during a successful seven-year stint as the War Eagles' coach.
Jordan Stubblefield scored 19 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead the Chestatee boys basketball team to a 73-64 win over Franklin County and its first victory of the year at a tournament Saturday in Jefferson.
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