The local sports schedule may be a little light this week in anticipation of spring break the following week -- but a lighter schedule does not mean a weak schedule, and there are plenty of key showdowns on tap this week for area prep programs.
Baseball, especially will feature what could be separation match-ups for some regions -- certainly in Region 7-AAA, as well as in Region 8-AAAAA.
Last week saw Buford take two games from North Hall, including a come-from-behind win in Gainesville -- the week also saw the Trojans bounce back with a huge win over previously undefeated White County.
On Monday, the Warriors will look to get a little payback in Cleveland -- and with games against Buford coming on Wednesday and Friday, White County knows there is little room for error. The Trojans, meanwhile, could take a firm grasp on second place in 7-AAA with a victory on Monday.
Meanwhile, 8-AAAAA will feature some key showdowns, especially for Gainesville.
The Red Elephants gave a good account of themselves last week in the National High School Invitational Tournament and will look to carry that momentum into Monday, when they travel to face Winder-Barrow (5-1 in 8-AAAAA). Gainesville (3-1 in 8-AAAAA) will play host to the Bulldoggs on Wednesday and then play host to Loganville (4-0 in 8-AAAAA) on Friday. Flowery Branch, which is also in the thick of the 8-AAAAA race, will enjoy a light week, facing an improved Heritage in Conyers on Friday.
Johnson and Chestatee will also renew their rivalry in Region 8-AAAA with home and home series on Monday and Wednesday.
While baseball region races are still red hot some of the other prep sports will begin to cool somewhat this week and next, as teams go through a spring break slow down.
The area's soccer teams will stay active this week, though there are precious few region showdowns. Yet Region 7-AAA will still feature a key battle as Buford travels to East Hall -- whose boys are looking to halt a two-game losing skid.
Gainesville's girls also have the chance to take Region 8-AAAAA by the scruff when the Lady Red Elephants travel to face Heritage, Conyers on Thursday.
Gainesville (11-1-1, 6-0 Region 8-AAAAA) claimed a big scalp on Friday with a 2-0 win over Flower Branch and can take sole possession of first in the league with a win at Heritage (10-3, 6-0).
The area's programs -- outside of baseball -- will then begin a one-week hiatus for spring break. But there should be plenty to keep us occupied this week.
AREA SPORTS SCHEDULE, MARCH 31 - APRIL 5
Monday, March 31
Buford at West Hall
Dawson County at Fannin County
East Hall at Banks County
Gainesville at Winder-Barrow
Jackson County at Morgan County
Johnson at Chestatee
Mill Creek at Habersham Central
North Forsyth at Gulf Breeze, Fla.
North Hall at White County
Prince Avenue Christian at Towns County
West Hall at Cambridge
Lakeview Academy at Towns County
Tuesday, April 1
Hebron Christian at Commerce
Jefferson at Riverside Military
Lakeview Academy at Athens Christian
Union County at Rabun County
Buford at East Hall
Chestatee at Gilmer
Hebron Christian at Lakeview Academy
North Hall at Riverside Military
Rabun County at Johnson
White County at Banks County
Wednesday, April 2
Buford at White County -- Jeff
Chestatee at Johnson
East Hall at Dawson County
Habersham Central at Collins Hill
Jackson County at Elbert County
North Forsyth at Pine Forest, Fla. (Pensacola, Fla.)
North Hall at Banks County
West Hall at Fannin County
Winder-Barrow at Gainesville
Thursday, April 3
Lakeview Academy at Commerce
Andrews, N.C. at Towns County
Eastside at Johnson
Gainesville at Heritage, Conyers
West Hall at Banks County
Friday, April 4
Banks County at North Hall
Commerce at Lakeview Academy
Dawson County at East Hall
Elbert County at Jackson County
Fannin County at West Hall
Flowery Branch at Heritage, Conyers
Loganville at Gainesville
Madison County at Johnson
Norcross at Habersham Central
North Forsyth at West Fla. (Pensacola, Fla.)
Oglethorpe County at Rabun County (doubleheader)
Social Circle at Union County (doubleheader)
Stephens County at Chestatee
Washington-Wilkes at Jefferson (doubleheader)
White County at Buford
East Hall at Pickens
Lakeview Academy at Providence Christian
Rabun County at Washington-Wilkes
Wesleyan at Buford
TRACK and FIELD:
Battle at the Branch Invitational at Flowery Branch
Saturday, April 5
Towns County at Providence Christian (doubleheader)