It may have been dreary and nasty outside, but a number of area football teams kept themselves warm and cozy thanks to first round playoff victories on Friday.
Buford, Chestatee, Gainesville, Jefferson, North Gwinnett and White County each notched victories -- though the most exciting games of the night ended up in gut-wrenching defeats for two area programs, as West Hall and North Hall watched last second field goals miss the mark to end their seasons.
The Spartans so nearly completed the biggest upset of the night when they pushed No. 2-ranked Cartersville to the brink before falling 28-26 on the road. West Hall held the lead for much of the contest and came up with big play after big play to answer once Cartersville pushed ahead. Yet West Hall could not convert two fourth quarter field goal attempts to complete the upset in their first state playoff appearance since 2002.
North Hall, meanwhile, saw a 45-yard field goal bounce agonizingly off the crossbar to seal a 55-54 loss at Ringgold. The two teams traded score after score and combined for over 1,000 yards of offense -- Trojans running back Zac Little exploding for 267 yards of that on the ground.
Yet both of the Region 7-AAA competitors' seasons are now complete.
The top two seeds from 7-AAA are both alive and kicking, however, as Buford dominated Sonoraville 58-0 and White County pulled away from Adairsville 52-28. Dalton Whitfield was a one-man bulldozer in the Warriors' win, rushing for 240 yards and three touchdowns. White County will now head to Blessed Trinity to face the Titans for the fourth time in four years. Buford will host Woodward Academy.
Chestatee, meanwhile, made history on Friday as the War Eagles notched their first ever state playoff win courtesy a domineering 41-13 defeat of Grady in Gainesville. Chestatee overcame some early mistakes to make it look easy. The War Eagles now head on the road to face Class AAAA No. 1 Sandy Creek.
Gainesville also notched a first round victory, fending off a talented M.L. King 28-14 at City Park. The Red Elephants showed they are far more than an offensive juggernaut in the win, scoring on defense and blocking a punt. Gainesville will play host to South Paulding in the second round.
Jefferson also advanced into the second round in Class AA, grinding out a 28-0 win over Westminster that saw the Dragons rush for 241 yards. Jefferson will travel to face top-seeded Heard County next week.
And after finishing as the No. 3 seed from Region 7-AAAAAA due to a coin toss, North Gwinnett rolled to a 34-10 win over Milton on Friday. The Bulldogs will travel to take on Archer in the second round.
Flowery Branch, North Forsyth, Rabun County, Stephens County and Union County all saw their seasons come to an end on Friday.
The Falcons slugged it out with Stephenson but were hurt by three turnovers in their setback in Flowery Branch.
Check out our Sports and Friday Game Night pages for complete game stories and video highlights of Friday's playoff action. Scroll down for complete scores and next week's playoff schedule.
AREA FIRST ROUND PLAYOFF SCORES, NOV. 15
North Gwinnett 34, Milton 10
Archer 34, North Forsyth 7
Gainesville 28, MLK Jr. 14
Stephenson 27, Flowery Branch 7
Chestatee 41, Grady 13
Marist 41, Stephens County 13
Blessed Trinity 41, Jackson County 14
Buford 58, Sonoraville 0
Cartersville 28, West Hall 26
Ringgold 55, North Hall 54
White County 52, Adairsville 28
Greater Atlanta Christian 34, Rabun County 7
Jefferson 28, Westminster 0
Lovett 56, Union County 21
SECOND ROUND STATE PLAYOFF MATCH-UPS, NOV. 22
North Gwinnett at Archer
South Paulding at Gainesville
Chestatee at Sandy Creek
Woodward Academy at Buford
White County at Blessed Trinity
Jefferson at Heard County
Class A Public*
Charlton County at Commerce
*-First round match-up for Class A