Buford is headed to Columbus looking for a sixth consecutive state championship — and a first in Class AAA — as the state softball championships begin Thursday in Columbus.
The Region 7-AAA champion Lady Wolves (28-3) needed all three games to defeat Franklin County and return to Columbus, which could be a good sign, as last year’s team needed three games to get past North Murray in the second round on their way to another state title.
The Lady Wolves are one of three area teams still alive. Lumpkin County is back in Columbus for the first time in 10 years and Jackson County is making the trip a year after falling one game short of the final eight.
Lumpkin County opens the final eight round of the double elimination, Class AAAA tournament Thursday against South Effingham, and in Class AAA, Buford plays Jackson and Jackson County plays Chapel Hill. Buford and Jackson County would meet in the next round if both win.
HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL: Gainesville hosts Starr’s Mill at 6 p.m. Tuesday, and will be looking to get back to the third round of the state volleyball tournament for the second consecutive season, this time in Class AAAAA. The Red Elephants had never made the state tournament until last season, when they made it in Class AAA.
Second-seeded Gainesville won in four games against Creekview in the opening round. No. 4-seed Starr’s Mill toppled top-seeded Richmond Hill in three games to advance.
Buford is also playing Tuesday in the second round of the Class AAA tournament as the Lady Wolves travel to Savannah against Islands.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Flowery Branch (6-2, 6-0) travels to Athens to play Clarke Central (3-4, 3-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday with the Falcons looking to finally get passed their biggest hurdle in the region the past two seasons.
In 2010 Clarke Central beat Flowery Branch 21-0 in a battle for the Region 8-AAAA championship, and last season the Gladiators topped the Falcons 38-35 to once again deny Flowery Branch the chance at being the lone region champs.
This season, however, a win at Billy Henderson Stadium would not clinch a region title for Flowery Branch. The Falcons will be playing instead to have an inside track at clinching at least a top-two seed, but this season Gainesville has replaced Clarke Central as the final regular season game of the year.
The Red Elephants ran over Clarke Central 49-28 last Friday.
While Lakeview’s game Friday against North Cobb Christian may not have any region implications, a win for the Lions would be historic. Lakeview has never won more than four games in a season.
The Lions (4-2) clinched at least a third-consecutive .500 season record with a 35-0 win over St. Francis last Friday.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Georgia (6-1), after narrowly avoiding and upset loss at Kentucky, will have quite possibly its biggest challenge of the year at 3:30 p.m. Saturday against undefeated Florida in Jacksonville. The game can be seen on CBS.
Georgia Tech (3-4) looks to get back to .500 at 3 p.m. Saturday in Atlanta against BYU. The game can be seen on Fox Sports South.
ATLANTA FALCONS: Still the NFL’s lone undefeated team, the Falcons (6-0) return from their bye at 1 p.m. Sunday against the Eagles in Philadelphia. The game can be seen on Fox.