Class AAA playoffs
Who: Flowery Branch at Gainesville
Where: City Park Stadium
When: 7:30 tonight
Tailgate: Gainesville High will hold a tailgate catered by Johnny’s BBQ from 5-7 p.m. in the Green Street pool parking lot.
More from the Semifinal Smackdown:
- Superintendents put school, system pride on the line
- Semifinal Smacktalk: Students weigh in on Friday's matchup
- Writers Block: Take our sports staff with you to City Park Stadium
- The Blitz: For score updates, video, slideshows and complete coverage during and after the game.
- Video: Players, coaches discuss the Duel for the Dome
- Poll: Who will win tonight's game?
The weather is cool, and the rivalry is heating up.
As temperatures drop into the low 40s this evening, Gainesville’s Red Elephants and the Flowery Branch Falcons will meet in Gainesville’s City Park Stadium in the Class AAA state semifinal football game.
And while the players have been preparing for the matchup all season, the fans might heed a few reminders when heading to support their favorite red-and-black team.
Both the Gainesville Civic Center and the Martha Hope Cabin are rented for private events and won’t be available for parking tonight.
Fans are welcome to park in the front lot at First Baptist Church on Green Street, but parking there is limited to about 50 spaces, according to a source at the church.
More parking will be available on the surrounding streets and at Lakewood Baptist Church on Thompson Bridge Road.
Three buses will shuttle fans from a 350-space parking lot Lakewood to the game at City Park Stadium. The buses will run every 15 minutes, beginning at 5 p.m., according to Gainesville schools Superintendent Merrianne Dyer.
Fans also can park streetside in the neighborhoods near the stadium. However, parking is prohibited on Glenwood Drive from Riverside Drive to Memorial Drive, on Park Hill Drive from Riverside Drive to Morningside Drive and on the west side of Prior Street from Memorial Drive to Candler Street.
The Gainesville Police Department will be assisting pedestrians crossing the streets as well as providing security inside the stadium and at the off-site parking areas.
The gates will open two-and-a-half hours before the scheduled 7:30 p.m. starting time — a half-hour earlier than usual. And as of Thursday, there were still $10 tickets available for the game, Dyer said. Bobby Gruhn Field at City Park can fit as many as 6,000 spectators; school officials expect between 6,00 and 8,000 people to show up for the game if the weather is decent.
According to the National Weather Service, rain is likely but not until after midnight. Temperatures could dip as low as 38 degrees.
Staff writers Melissa Weinman and Stephen Gurr contributed to this report.