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Excitement building for tonight's rivalry game between Gainesville, Flowery Branch
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Gainesville High School cheerleaders decorate football players’ lockers Thursday before today’s home game against Flowery Branch. From left, Emily Miller, Asya Harper and Bailey Armour. - photo by NAT GURLEY

Excitement is brewing as Red Elephant and Falcons fans gear up for tonight’s regional championship game.

The Gainesville High Red Elephants will face the Flowery Branch High Falcons at 7:30 p.m. on Bobby Gruhn Field in City Park. Fans on both sides may not agree on who will win, but they do agree it will be one exciting game.

The football game was a hot topic Thursday morning at Longstreet Cafe.

“It should be a good ballgame,” said Walt Snelling, longtime announcer for Gainesville High. “(There’s) a lot of offense on both sides.”

At the next table, Red Elephant fan Gary Harr was optimistic for a Gainesville win but also realistic about the tough battle ahead.

“Historically, that game has been a very tough battle between the two teams,” he said. “I know that Flowery Branch (has) got great coaching down there, they’ve got good athletes. I’m looking forward to a really close game.”

Down on the south side of the county, Flowery Branch High School was gearing up for tonight. Senior Lindsey Lester said she’ll be sitting with the Flowery Branch student section, known as the Dark Side.

“The Dark Side is blacking out, so the whole section will be all blacked out and painted up,” she said. “It should be pretty cool.”

Fellow senior Dre Stready will also be there, along with hundreds of other students.

“We all support our team, but I think this game will be really big in the sense of our student body,” Stready said. “We’ve waited all year for this game. This week has been crazy because everyone’s just anticipating (today).”

Everyone on both sides of the field is anticipating the outcome of tonight’s game. 

“I’m thinking there’s going to be a lot of people there,” Harr said, adding he could see up to 10,000 people attending. “They’ll be hanging off the rafters, so to speak.”

Regional events