The stage is set.

Two 5-0 teams, a big homecoming game and the final non-district test for your Gainesville Leopards game.

This Friday’s home game against Vernon has all the makings of a classic and you should be there.

The Leopards are off to an electric start, remaining undefeated through five games. Don’t tell me you saw this coming.

Thanks to hard work, good coaching and a disciplined team, Gainesville has turned a 2-8 season from a year ago into serious playoff contender. The Leopards are still getting better, too.

What’s a better way to show your appreciation for a good team other than attend the game and show it?

There’s really no excuse for skipping the game - unless for prior obligations of course.

The team is a legit contender, this isn’t a roll over game, the Leopards have been away for weeks and it’s homecoming.

Leopard Stadium should be packed.

This isn’t a Leopard team of recent memory - you won’t see costly turnovers, an inept offense or a bevy of unnecessary penalties.

This is an exciting brand of football - one with an explosive offense and a stingy defense. This is the fastest Gainesville team since 2005.

If an intriguing team with a high ceiling for potential isn’t enough to win you over, it’s also homecoming. The event comes once a year and is a great way to reconnect with old friends while showing your Gainesville pride.

If nothing else at all, show up for the game. Vernon and Gainesville are almost mirror images of each other.

Both have proven to have a dangerous offense, a swarming defense and have turned things around quickly. Vernon, like the Leopards, was 2-8 a year ago.

What a difference a year makes.

This year Vernon is undefeated thus far and looking like a serious challenger in Region I-3A.

The history of the two teams make this matchup even more interesting, too. Both teams have a rich history and tradition. It’s a bit of a shared tradition as well.

Gainesville and Vernon have played each other for years dating back into the 70’s. It’ll be good to renew the rivalry.

One final story line that makes this game even juicier is that Leopard coach Keith Hall gets his first chance at his former team. The Gainesville coach was at the helm of the Lions from 2003 to 2009, piling up a 48-37 record in the process.

So there you have it. You have no excuses for missing the game.

I hope to see the stadium packed on Friday. I’ll see you there.

Keith MacPherson is sports editor of the Gainesville Daily Register. He can be reached at sportsgdr@ntin.net

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