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Wager pits peaches vs. poultry
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Cheerleader, mascot race to be belles of the (foot)ball

When Hall County Commissioner Ashley Bell heard Gainesville High School would be playing Peach County High School for the football state championship, he couldn’t pass up the chance for a good-natured bet.

So, Bell and Peach County Commissioner Michael Dinkins — both huge fans of their respective football teams — have made a wager on the outcome of today’s game at the Georgia Dome.

If Gainesville High School wins, Dinkins will have to prominently display a Gainesville High School football helmet at the next Peach County commission work session and send some of Peach County’s finest peaches to the Hall County commissioners.

If Peach County High comes out victorious, Bell must show off a Peach County helmet during the next Hall County meeting and send some Hall County poultry down to Dinkins and his fellow commissioners.

“We agreed we would exchange commodities,” Bell said. “I didn’t say if (the chicken) would be alive or not. Preferably it would be alive and well-fed.”

But Bell is pretty confident that there will be no need to send the poultry to Peach County.

“You can never count out Gainesville (High School),” Bell said. “As long as there’s time on the clock, they can win.”

Bell and Dinkins met at a commissioner training course in Athens after both were elected in 2008.

Dinkins said he and Bell have kept in touch over the past year and plan to sit together for at least part of Saturday’s game.

“I just hope this doesn’t sever our friendship,” Dinkins joked.

Dinkins is also certain that Peach County will come home victorious.

“I’ll be sure to have the Peach County Trojan helmet there, if I have to bring it myself,” Dinkins said. “We’re very confident in our ability to win.”

Bell, a Gainesville High School alumnus, said it is exciting to see the team he has followed his whole life make it to the state championship game.

“Being a Red Elephant for life, it’s part of life in this city — it’s community, it’s tradition,” Bell said.
Bell and Dinkins’ wager is not the first of Gainesville’s playoff season.

Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield and Gainesville Schools Superintendent Merrianne Dyer made a similar bet before the state semifinal game on Dec. 4 between Flowery Branch High School and Gainesville High School.

Following the close loss, Schofield had to wear a Gainesville High School T-shirt the Monday after the game.