Three more regions got their playoff quests underway on Friday night and several area teams made statements that they intend to be in the conversation the second half of the season.
None were bigger, however than the showdown at Falcons Field between No. 2 Jefferson and No. 8 Flowery Branch to get things started in Region 8-4A. The Dragons' powerful run game was too much for the Falcons and the Falcons' state-leading passing attack was grounded as the Dragons pulled away for a 40-10 win.
Three monster matchups highlighted the opening of Region 7-3A play. Dawson County got the last shot in a 42-35 win over No. 7 White County in Dawsonville while Cherokee Bluff rolled over Gilmer 21-6 to stay unbeaten. And North Hall, which began the season 0-3, ran past West Hall 42-13 at The Brickyard for its second straight win.
Region 8-6A also got started on Friday with No. 2 Buford taking down Central Gwinnett 51-0 at Tom Riden Stadium. And Habersham Central shook off a pair of tough losses to rally for a 27-21 road win over Winder-Barrow.
In Region 8-5A, Jackson County was looking to make history with its first-ever win over Clarke Central but could not hold down a surging Gladiators offense in a 38-10 loss. Johnson dropped a 59-0 decision to Loganville on the road.
The biggest disappointment of the night was that a surging East Hall, set to open its Region 8-4A slate against Cedar Shoals, was forced to cancel its game, and next week against Jefferson, due to COVID quarantine policies. The Vikings were poised to make some noise in the region play behind one of the state's best offenses. Union County also was forced to cancel its game with Woodland-Cartersville, which was quarantined because of COVID issues.
All other action Friday involved non-region matchups. Commerce went on the road and smacked Mount Paran Christian 41-9 and Class 2A No. 3 Rabun County took a road win routing East Jackson 70-36 in Commerce. Gainesville, fresh off its thrilling win over Forsyth Central to open Region 6-7A last week, could not keep the momentum going falling 28-27 to Hillgrove at City Park.
Lakeview Academy, coming off a pair of wins, fell 23-15 to Class 2A Coosa on the road and Banks County could not find a way to harness Class 2A's leading rusher in a 44-0 loss to Haralson County at home.
You can check AccessWDUN's Friday Game Night page for game stories and video highlights.
OCTOBER 9 SCORES
Buford 51, Central Gwinnett 0*
Cherokee Bluff 21, Gilmer 6*
Clarke Central 38, Jackson County 10*
Commerce 41, Mount Paran Christian 9
Coosa 23, Lakeview Academy 15
Dawson County 42, White County 35*
Habersham Central 27, Winder-Barrow 21*
Haralson County 44, Banks County 0
Hillgrove 28, Gainesville 27
Jefferson 40, Flowery Branch 10*
Loganville 59, Johnson 0*
North Hall 42, West Hall 13*
Rabun County 70, East Jackson 36
Cedar Shoals at East Hall* -- canceled
Woodland-Cartersville at Union County -- canceled
OCTOBER 16 SCHEDULE
Buford at Habersham Central*
Cherokee Bluff at West Hall*
Chestatee at North Oconee*
Greene County at Commerce*
East Hall at Jefferson*
Oconee County at East Jackson*
Lakeview at Fellowship Christian*
Lambert at Gainesville*
Loganville at Jackson County*
Lumpkin at Gilmer*
North Hall at White County*
Johnson at Walnut Grove*
Rabun County at Pope
Lincoln County at Towns County*
(* -- denotes region game)