Friday April 16th, 2021 4:31AM

Week 1: Area teams set for exciting kickoff to 2013 campaign tonight

The season opens with a bang for several area programs tonight, as some interesting match-ups will take place in week 1. (Scroll down for a complete list of the area's games.)

A number of rivalries will mark the night, including one of the state's oldest in Jefferson, as Commerce travels to face the Dragons for the 68th time in the series. The Tigers hold a decided edge in the rivalry, winning 42 of the previous meetings, including last year's 22-7 win, which proved the only blemish on Jefferson's state championship campaign. See more about the game by clicking here.

Meanwhile, Chestatee will head to the Brickyard to face North Hall in an intense battle of neighbors -- Read more about that contest by clicking here.

Elsewhere Forsyth Central heads to North Forsyth in a now 14-year-old contest that has raged back and forth, with the Raiders holding a slim, one-game lead. Both programs are under new head coaches and both will be willing to make an early impression against a rival.

Lumpkin County also has a new head coach, and Brad Waggoner will lead his Indians to Dawsonville for a showdown with Jeff Lee's Dawson County. The Tigers are already 1-0 on the season after edging East Hall 29-27 last week.

There are no new coaches at Stephens County but the Indians will take on old foe Franklin County (which is under a new head coach) with plenty of new faces in key roles after returning just two starters on each side of the ball.

And that's just some of the rivalries taking place.

There are some other extremely interesting showdowns going on tonight, including a Class AAAAA top 10 battle, as No. 9 Flowery Branch heads south to face No. 2 Northside, Warner Robins. The Falcons do so with a returning starter at quarterback for the first time since 2008-09. Northside, meanwhile, lost 14 of 22 starters from a season ago and is looking to reload with plenty of talent.

Defending state champs Buford (Class AAA) and Gainesville (AAAAA) also open the season against strong foes, with the Red Elephants facing a West Forsyth team that upended the Red Elephants in last year's opener (32-30). The Wolverines graduated much of their offense from a season ago, but Gainesville knows it won't be easy against a disciplined Frank Hepler-coached team.

Meanwhile, Buford will look to unleash a loaded defense that will open against an athletic Blue Devil offense before facing Gainesville next week at City Park.

There are plenty of other intriguing storylines, including Habersham Central looking to make a statement under new head coach Michael Pollock against a White County team that could give coach Bill Ballard his 100th career victory.

It's sure to be a night full of surprises and excitement, and Access North Georgia's Friday Game Night will be there for every step. Be sure to check out our scoreboard and our twitter page for scoring and game updates: @FridayGameNight.

Games listed alphabetically by visiting team

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Eagle Stadium, Commerce
-- BANKS (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAA): The Leopards finished 3-7 in 2012.
-- EAST JACKSON (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAA): The Eagles finished 0-10 in 2012.
-- HISTORY: Banks County won the last meeting, 46-30 in 2012. East Jackson leads the series 3-2.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: East Hall Stadium, Rabbittown
-- CHATTOOGA (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AA): The Indians finished 2-8 in 2012.
-- EAST HALL (0-1, 0-1 Region 7-AAA): The Vikings lost 29-27 to Dawson County last week.
-- HISTORY: Chattooga won the last meeting 29-21 in 2012. The Indians lead the series 1-0.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: The Brickyard, Gainesville
-- RADIO: 102.9 FM
-- CHESTATEE (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAA): The War Eagles finished 8-3 in 2012.
-- NORTH HALL (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAA): The Trojans finished 11-3 in 2012. North Hall is ranked No. 7 in Class AAA.
-- HISTORY: North Hall won the last meeting 32-20 in 2012. The Trojans lead the series 10-1.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Memorial Stadium, Jefferson
-- COMMERCE (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-A): The Tigers finished 5-6 in 2012.
-- JEFFERSON (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AA): The Dragons finished 14-1 in 2012. Jefferson is arnked No. 5 in Class AA.
-- HISTORY: Commerce won the last meeting 22-7 in 2012. The Tigers lead the series 42-20-5.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Tom Riden Stadium, Buford
-- ELBERT (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAA): The Blue Devils finished 5-5 in 2012.
-- BUFORD (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAA): The Wolves finished 12-3 in 2012. Buford is ranked No. 1 in Class AAA.
-- HISTORY: Buford won the last meeting 14-3 in 2012. The Wolves lead the series 2-0.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: McConnell Talbert Stadium, Warner Robins
-- FLOWERY BRANCH (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAAA): The Falcons finished 8-3 in 2012. Flowery Branch is ranked ninth in Class AAAAA.
-- NORTHSIDE (0-0, 0-0 Region 2-AAAAA): The Eagles finished 13-1 in 2012. Northside is ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAA.
-- HISTORY: Northside won the last meeting 45-7 in 2012. The Eagles lead the series 1-0.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Raider Valley, Coal Mountain
-- FORSYTH CENTRAL (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAAAA): The Bulldogs finished 2-8 in 2012.
-- NORTH FORSYTH (0-0, 0-0 Region 6-AAAAAA): The Raiders finished 3-7 in 2012.
-- HISTORY: North Forsyth won the last meeting 10-7 in 2012. The Raiders lead the series 7-6.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: The Reservation, Toccoa
-- FRANKLIN (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAA): The Lions finished 2-8 in 2012.
-- STEPHENS (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAA): The Indians finished 8-3 in 2012.
-- HISTORY: Stephens County won the last meeting 28-7 in 2012. The Indians lead the series 34-10-1.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Wolverine Stadium, Cumming
-- RADIO: 1240 AM
-- GAINESVILLE (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAAA): The Red Elephants finished 12-3 in 2012. Gainesville is ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAA.
-- WEST FORSYTH (0-0, 0-0 Region 6-AAAAAA): The Wolverines finished 10-2 in 2012.
-- HISTORY: West Forsyth won the last meeting 32-30 in 2012. Gainesville leads the series 2-1.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Rebel Stadium, Blue Ridge
-- GILMER (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAAA): The Bobcats finished 8-3 in 2012.
-- FANNIN (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAA): The Rebels finished 1-9 in 2012.
-- HISTORY: Gilmer won the last meeting 45-6 in 2012.The Bobcats lead the series 22-13-2.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: White County Stadium, Cleveland
-- HABERSHAM (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAAAAA): The Raiders finished 1-9 in 2012.
-- WHITE (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAA): The Warriors finished 7-4 in 2012.
-- HISTORY: White County won the last meeting 31-0 in 2012. Habersham Central leads the series 4-1.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: W. Clair Harris Stadium, Winder
-- JACKSON COUNTY (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAA): The Panthers finished 6-5 in 2012.
-- WINDER (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAAA): The Bulldoggs finished 1-9 in 2012.
-- HISTORY: Jackson County won the last meeting 21-10 in 2012. Winder leads the series 7-2.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Patriot Stadium, Lexington
-- JOHNSON (0-1, playing non-region schedule): The Knights lost 35-0 to West Hall last week.
-- OGLETHORPE (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AA): The Patriots finished 4-6 in 2012.
-- HISTORY: Johnson won the last meeting 36-21 in 2012. The Knights lead the series 1-0.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Ray Manus Stadium, Roswell
-- LAKEVIEW (0-0, playing non-region schedule): The Lions finished 6-2 in 2012.
-- FELLOWSHIP (0-0, 0-0 Region 6-A): The Paladins finished 2-8 in 2012.
-- HISTORY: Lakeview won the last meeting 32-12 in 2012. The series is tied 2-2.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: R. Harold Harrison Stadium, Bethlehem
-- LANIER (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAA): The Longhorns finished 5-5 in 2012.
-- APALACHEE (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAAA): The Wildcats finished 5-5 in 2012.
-- HISTORY: Apalachee won the last meeting 21-11 in 2012.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Tiger Stadium, Dawsonville
-- LUMPKIN (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAA): The Indians finished 2-8 in 2012.
-- DAWSON (1-0, 1-0 Region 7-AAA): The Tigers finished 6-5 in 2012.
-- HISTORY: Dawson County won the last meeting 35-0 in 2012. Lumpkin County leads the series 18-15-2.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Barron Field, Dacula
-- MILL CREEK (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAAAAA): The Hawks finished 9-4 in 2012. Mill Creek is ranked No. 9 in Class AAAAAA.
-- DACULA (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAAAA): The Falcons finished 1-9 in 2012.
-- HISTORY: Mill Creek won the last meeting 35-0 in 2012. The Hawks lead the series 4-3.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Grayson Community Stadium, Grayson
-- NORTH GWINNETT (1-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAAAAA): The Bulldogs defeated Camden County 34-14 last week. North Gwinnett is ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAAA.
-- GRAYSON (0-1, 0-0 Region 8-AAAAAA): The Rams lost 21-6 to Colquitt County last week.
-- HISTORY: North Gwinnett won the last meeting 28-10 in the 2012 state playoffs. The series is tied 1-1.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville
-- TOWNS (0-1, playing non-region schedule): The Indians lost 20-0 to Hayesville, N.C., last week.
-- UNION (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AA): The Panthers finished 6-4 in 2012.
-- HISTORY: Union County won the last meeting 17-14 in 2012. The Panthers lead the series 26-1.
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