Starting this Friday, it's finally time for some real football again.
Six area teams will kick off the 2013 campaign this weekend, including one of the fiercest rivalries in northeast Georgia, as Johnson and West Hall renew the "Battle of Oakwood." Most of the area's remaining teams will get going on Aug. 30.
The cross-town showdown has been played every season since 1994, with West Hall holding a 11-7-1 lead. Yet Johnson grabbed last year's "Battle" 19-13 in a contest between two programs under new head coaches.
West Hall will be itching to get some payback this week, especially playing at home, and both teams will want to open the campaign with a victory. The contest will be broadcast live on 102.9 FM WDUN.
Meanwhile, in Rabbittown, East Hall and Dawson County will commence the season with a Region 7-AAA contest.
After back-to-back 5-5 campaigns, the Vikings are looking to earn their first winning season since 2005. Dawson County, meanwhile, is looking to continue last year's ascent to the state playoffs.
The Tigers dominated last year's early season match-up, defeating East Hall 42-0 and lead the series 6-1, but both teams expect a tough battle on Friday.
Elsewhere, Towns County will open the Blair Harrison era with a home game against Hayesville, N.C. The Indians went 3-7 last season and will be looking for big things from Harrison, who helped turn around a Brookstone (Columbus) program during his time at the school (2003-2011).
On Saturday, North Gwinnett will continue its recent tradition of playing in the Kell Classic by kicking off the season against Camden County in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The two programs have been amongst the best in the state over past decade.
Camden has won three state championships in the largest classification in the state since 2003 but is under a new head coach (Welton Coffey) for the first time since 2000.
The Bulldogs reached the Class AAAAAA quarterfinals last season.
AREA FOOTBALL SCHEDULE, FRIDAY-SATURDAY
Dawson County at East Hall
Hayesville. N.C. at Towns County
Johnson at West Hall
North Gwinnett vs. Camden County (Georgia Dome)