After a five-week preamble, the season within the season begins Friday for teams in Region 8-AAA as the subregion games used to determine playoff positioning are set to kick off.
One of the most intriguing match-up of the weeks is in the North subregion, as Chestatee (3-1) meets North Hall (1-3).
Since Chestatee High School opened in 2002, the War Eagles have beaten the Trojans only once - 17-10 in 2005.
But the War Eagles have started strong in 2011, winning three straight before falling to Monroe Area 41-35 on Friday night.
Quarterback Jordan Degraff leads a deep stable of Chestatee skill players and guides one of the area's most productive offenses (37.3 points per game).
But the War Eagles will need to improve their run defense against North Hall after Monroe Area ran for 338 yards.
Meanwhile, lead by its own potent ground game, North Hall is getting back on track. The Trojans throttled Walnut Grove on Friday, 48-14, after starting the season with three straight losses.
Tennessee commit Imani Cross is the focal point of the North Hall offense.
The bruising senior running back is among the area's leading rushers and has topped 125 yards on the ground in each game this season.
Other games to keep an eye on in 8-AAA this week include White County at Lumpkin County in the North and Oconee County at Monroe Area in the South.
White County (1-3), which won the North subregion last year, is in a rebuilding year, but is beginning to show progress under new coach Bill Ballard.
Lumpkin County (3-1) has been stung by a spate of injuries, but still has one of the area's most versatile threats in Ian McIntosh.
The winner of Friday's game in Dahlonega will be well-positioned to fight for a spot in a region playoff game on Nov. 4.
In Monroe, the Purple Hurricanes (3-1) look like the stiffest challenger to Gainesville's crown in the South.
They'll face an Oconee County team (2-2) coming of a 27-14 loss to Washington-Wilkes.
A FRIDAY OF FIRSTS: At the season's midway point, a few teams around the area are starting to shed those pesky zeroes - or in Flowery Branch's case, post them.
Lakeview (1-3) won its first game of the season Friday, a 10-7 decision over Hebron Christian.
It was a fitting way to win for the Lions, who have posted solid defensive numbers this season. While the Lakeview offense has struggled, the defense has kept the team in games.
The Lions lost big to unbeaten Prince Avenue Christian, 42-7. But in their other three games, the Lions are yielding an average of 8.7 points.
Flowery Branch knows something about stingy defense as well. The Falcons, often noted for their high-scoring offense, posted their first shutout of the season in 51-0 rout of Rockdale County.
Flowery Branch (5-0) entered the week with the state's top scoring offense, averaging more than 52 point per game, but the defense has done its part, yielding just over 10 points per game and only allowing one opponent (Apalachee) to score more than seven.