The second season begins on Friday for 14 area high school football programs, as the state playoffs get underway -- 14 teams are just five wins removed from the biggest prize of all, and Jacobs Media will be along for every step.
(Commerce is the 15th area playoff team but must wait a week to start its playoff run and only needs win four games.)
Three first round contests will feature live on the air-waves of Jacobs Media stations, including one team looking for some bounce back, one looking for history and another chasing its own excellence from 2012.
Flowery Branch suffered an upset loss in last year's first round of the Class AAAAA postseason, and the Falcons will look to avoid that fate this week after finishing as the No. 2 seed from Region 8-AAAAA.
It will not come easy, however, as Flowery Branch (7-3) plays host to a Stephenson team that spent most of the season ranked in the top 10 and finished third in a brutally tough Region 6-AAAAA. The showdown will be broadcast live on WDUN AM 550.
The Jaguars (8-2) only defeats of 2013 came against top-ranked Tucker (31-28) and a Mays team that finished second in 6-AAAAA but did not receive a top 10 ranking.
Stephenson features 6-foot-5 tight end Ari Werts amongst an athletic and sizable roster.
Yet Flowery Branch will not be cowed by the challenge, and the Falcons, who made a hard push for the 8-AAAAA crown, will look to slow a Jaguars offense that comes in averaging just over 35 points per game.
Meanwhile, in Class AAAA, Chestatee will also face an athletic challenger from Atlanta, as the War Eagles take on Grady at home in a game broadcast live on WDUN 102.9 FM.
Chestatee (8-2) is looking to make two firsts on Friday: win more than eight games in a season and take their first playoff victory in program history. This will be the War Eagles fourth state playoff appearance, and they have yet to move past the first round.
But trials do not daunt this Chestatee squad, and the War Eagles will be excited about the opportunity at facing a Grey Knights team that features an explosive offense and a defense that is allowing 15.8 points per game. Grady (8-2) did not face Region 6-AAAA champ Marist during the season, but the second seeded Grey Knights will be no easy out, featuring running back Hakeem Todd (1,191 yards rushing, 11 TDs).
Chestatee's defense will look to make the difference, again, for the War Eagles, coming off its third shutout of the campaign in last week's regular season finale against Madison County -- a 42-0 victory.
Gainesville too is coming off a memorable regular-season finale, notching its fifth region title in the last six years courtesy a 55-45 defeat of Flowery Branch.
Yet Region 8-AAAAA's No. 1 seed knows it will not have a cakewalk in the first round just because it is facing a No. 4 seed. M.L. King is not your average fourth seed. And the two teams will square off at City Park live on 1240 AM.
The Lions (7-3) losses this season came against two ranked foes in Tucker and Stephenson, as well as 6-AAAAA No. 2 seed Mays -- and only No. 1 Tucker managed a sizable win (60-34). The other two losses were by a combined 12 points.
The third-ranked Red Elephants (9-1) will also face one of the more dangerous quarterbacks in the state in M.L. King's Roland Rivers (6-foot-3, 225 pounds), who has passed for over 2,000 yards so far this season. Romello Shumake has been his top target, with over 700 yards receiving so far this season.
There are plenty of other intriguing first round match-ups coming our way, including Westminster (5-5) at Jefferson (8-2), North Gwinnett (9-1) at Milton (8-2) and North Hall (8-2) at Ringgold (8-2) -- and you can keep up with all of the night's action live on Access North Georgia's Friday Game Night page and on twitter @FridayGameNight.
The Trojans will be one of the more feared No. 3 seeds in the postseason, and Ringgold has beaten just two teams with a winning record this campaign -- though one of them was Region 7-AAAA champ Dalton.
Meanwhile, White County will play host to its second ever state playoff game when the Warriors (8-2) will take on Adairsville (7-3). White County did win its last home playoff match-up (28-20 over LaGrange in 2010).
West Hall (6-4) and North Forsyth (7-3) will also make their state playoff appearances since 2002 and 2010 respectively. The Spartans travel to take on second-ranked Cartersville (10-0), while North Forsyth heads to face sixth-ranked Archer (10-0).
Jackson County (4-6) will also make its second straight playoff appearance, traveling to face Blessed Trinity (7-3), while, in Class AA, Rabun County (8-2) treks to No. 2 Greater Atlanta Christian (9-1). Union County (6-4), meanwhile, will play at No. 1 Lovett (9-1). And Stephens County (5-1) battles No. 5 Marist (8-2) in Atlanta.
AREA TEAMS STATE PLAYOFF MATCH-UPS:
First round contests for Classes AAAAAA-AA take place Nov. 15; Class A first round begins Nov. 22
North Forsyth (No. 4 seed, 6-AAAAAA) at Archer (No. 1, Region 8-AAAAAA)
North Gwinnett (No. 3, 7-AAAAAA) at Milton (No. 2, 5-AAAAAA)
Gainesville (No. 1, 8-AAAAA) vs. M.L. King (No. 4, 6-AAAAA) -- Radio: 1240 AM
Flowery Branch (No. 2, 8-AAAAA) vs. Stephenson (No. 3, 6-AAAAA) -- Radio: AM 550
Chestatee (No. 2, 8-AAAA) vs. Grady (No. 3, 6-AAAA) -- Radio: 102.9 FM
Stephens County (No. 4, 8-AAAA) at Marist (No. 1, 6-AAAA)
Buford (No. 1, 7-AAA) vs. Sonoraville (No. 4, 5-AAA)
White County (No. 2, 7-AAA) vs. Adairsville (No. 3, 5-AAA)
North Hall (No. 3, 7-AAA) at Ringgold (No. 2, 5-AAA)
West Hall (No. 4, 7-AAA) at Cartersville (No. 1, 5-AAA)
Jackson County (No. 4, 8-AAA) at Blessed Trinity (No. 1, 6-AAA)
Jefferson (No. 2, 8-AA) vs. Westminster (No. 3, 6-AA)
Rabun County (No. 3, 8-AA) at Greater Atlanta Christian (No. 2, 6-AA)
Union County (No. 4, 8-AA) at Lovett (No. 1, 6-AA)
Commerce -- awaits GHSA Class A power rating to find out seeding