The entire football-playing state will have at least one eye cast on two huge northeast Georgia showdowns on Friday -- and both contests will play out live over the Jacobs Media airwaves.
The last time Flowery Branch and Gainesville played it was an instant classic, the contest being decided in the closing minutes on a two-point conversion attempt that the Falcons denied to edge the Red Elephants 35-34.
If we get anything like that again, we will be treated indeed -- and with the way things are shaping up, another photo finish is a very real possibility.
The contest -- which will be broadcast live on both 1240 AM and 102.9 FM -- features one of the most prolific offenses in the state (Gainesville averages 51.6 points per game), led by the state's all-time leading passer (senior Deshaun Watson) against a defense that has coalesced into one of the best in Class AAAAA (the Falcons are allowing 15.8 points per game -- but just 11.4 in region play and almost all of those points have come against reserves).
Meanwhile, Gainesville's improving defense will look to slow a Flowery Branch attack that is also hitting its stride at just the right time.
Neither one of these teams has faced a true test since September -- both teams falling on Sept. 6 and sweeping all before them the rest of the way. Both have also dominated 8-AAAAA and both have playmakers to spare.
By the way, the game will also decide the Region 8-AAAAA crown and the No. 1 seed for the upcoming state playoffs.
The buzz has been building for weeks, and fans should expect an explosive atmosphere come Friday at City Park between two rivals that have played out a short but intense and meaningful rivalry -- Gainesville owning a 7-3 edge with four of those contests being decided by 11 points or less.
While Region 7-AAA will not display quite the same set-up on Friday -- featuring two teams undefeated in region play -- there is still a huge regular season finale that will decide the league crown when Buford travels to North Hall in a game broadcast live on AM 550.
Top-ranked Buford has dominated throughout the season, going 9-0 and winning by an average score of 52-6. North Hall, meanwhile, has gone 8-1, taking games by an average score of 46-16. And while the sixth-ranked Trojans stumbled on Oct. 18 in Cleveland, falling to White County, North Hall has shown it is fully over the setback, winning its last two contests, including a 63-7 victory over Banks County last week.
The Wolves, who finished second in the region to North Hall last season, can claim the 7-AAA crown outright with a victory at The Brickyard, while North Hall could throw things into a three-way tie for first (along with White County) or take the region outright (should the Warriors fall at Banks County).
Whatever the scenarios, fans should expect a physical slugfest between two teams that love to run the ball and stop the run.
The Wolves' I-formation attack is racking up 277.6 rush yards per game, while the Trojans' wishbone is rolling up a jaw-dropping 385.1 yards per contest. Both teams rely on imposing lines of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and both have been looking forward to this showdown since the schedules were released.
So are we.
There are also a handful of other contests with playoff implications on the line slated for Friday, including a 7-AAA showdown between West Hall and Dawson County in Dawsonville. The Spartans and Tigers own identical 5-4, 3-3 Region 7-AAA records, and the winner will notch the fourth and final playoff spot for 7-AAA. The loser will stay home. West Hall has not reached the postseason or posted a winning regular season mark since 2002. Dawson County, meanwhile, is coming off a playoff berth in 2012 -- its first since 2004. Expect a fight to the finish.
In Region 8-AAAA, Stephens County can secure a state playoff berth for the fourth straight year and 17th time in 18 seasons with a win over Lumpkin County.
And while both Jefferson and Union County have already secured postseason bids from Region 8-AA, the order is not set in stone yet. A Dragons victory on Friday would secure a No. 2 playoff berth, while a Panthers win could set up a three-way tie for second, along with Rabun County.
And in Region 8-AAA, Jackson County will play for its playoff life in another win-or-stay-home battle with Morgan County at home in Jefferson.
It should be a memorable final week of the 2013 regular season, and Jacobs Media -- Access North Georgia, WDUN AM 550/102.9 FM and 1240 AM ESPN Radio -- will be along for each snap of the action.
AREA FOOTBALL SCHEDULE, NOV. 8
Buford at North Hall -- Radio: 550 AM
Collins Hill at Mill Creek
Commerce at Pinecrest Academy
East Jackson at Oconee County
Fannin County at East Hall
Flowery Branch at Gainesville -- Radio: 1240 AM/102.9 FM
Jefferson at Union County
Lafayette at Johnson
Lumpkin County at Stephens County
Madison County at Chestatee
Morgan County at Jackson County
Peachtree Ridge at North Gwinnett
Rabun County at Oglethorpe County
Riverside Military at Greene County
South Forsyth at North Forsyth
Towns County at Hebron Christian
Walnut Grove at Lanier
West Hall at Dawson County
White County at Banks County
Winder-Barrow at Apalachee