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High school football returns to Gwinnett

Collins Hill seniors Nick McEachin, left, and Jon Atnip, right, cheer on the Eagles during the Collins Hill and Central Gwinnett football game in Lawrenceville Friday. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

Collins Hill seniors Nick McEachin, left, and Jon Atnip, right, cheer on the Eagles during the Collins Hill and Central Gwinnett football game in Lawrenceville Friday. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

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Central Gwinnett seniors Nermin Sakonjic, right, gets his chest painted from classmate Hannah Supple during tailgating festivities prior to the Collins Hill and Central Gwinnett football game in Lawrenceville Friday. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

From Snellville all the way to Buford, high school football stadiums were packed Friday night.

The first full day of high school football kicked off with 11 Gwinnett County teams playing last night.

The excitement of high school football in the South is unmatched across the country, especially in Gwinnett County. High schools fans, mostly students, were painted in their school colors and proudly rooted for their teams.

“We always have students and seniors come out to the student section,” said Nermin Sakonjic, a Central Gwinnett senior. “It’s just a good time to have fun on Fridays.”

Gwinnett County is seeking a fourth-straight state championship in the highest classification. Brookwood, Grayson and Norcross have won the last three state championships, while Buford is the defending Class AAA state champs.

The playoffs are three months away, but Friday night’s season opener certainly had a postseason feel to it. As teams burst through the banner onto the field for the first time this season, they were welcomed with a loud cheer. Football season is finally here.

“I’m a big football fan. I love high school football, college football, but especially high school,” said Philip Rudolph, whose daughter Taylor is a Grayson cheerleader. “I’ve always followed Grayson from the beginning.”

For complete coverage of all the games, go to GwinnettPrepSports.com.