After the parades are over and the Homecoming courts are introduced, the Walton and Wheeler football teams will settle in for the serious business of the evening Friday.
The Raiders and Wildcats play their Homecoming games tonight, and their region contests against Cherokee and Milton, respectively, could prove critical as they try to stay in the hunt in Region 5-AAAAAA.
Walton (3-1, 1-0) seeks to continue momentum after defeating Woodstock 24-7 last week. Cherokee (1-3, 0-1), is coming off a 41-6 loss to Lassiter, and has been one of the weaker teams in the region for several years, without a winning season since 2007.
But with the Raiders still addressing early-season defensive issues and quarterback Parker McLeod recovering from an ankle sprain, Walton still has some work to do before next week's East Cobb showdown against Lassiter.
Wheeler (3-1, 0-1) is looking to rebound from its first loss of the season, a 31-27 setback to Etowah decided in the final minute of play.
Milton (3-1, 1-0) is tied with Walton and Lassiter at the top of the region standings.
After sputtering to start the season, Pope has won two games in a row. The Greyhounds (2-2) will be at home in their final non-region game, facing Cambridge (0-3), a first-year school in Milton coming off a 20-0 loss to Osborne last week.
All the kickoffs are at 7:30 p.m. Friday.