Homecoming is always special when it's time for the event to take place at area high schools during the football season.
Ideal conditions made it quaint for the final Friday in September with the court beautifully dressed for the occasion.
To complete an enjoyable homecoming, victory on the gridiron is the major quest by the host school.
It turned out to be a Fantastic Friday in homecoming for Good Hope, Cullman and Vinemont.
Good Hope had a solid second quarter of mixing the run and pass to equal balance, scoring on three possessions, taking command of the battle with Cold Springs, beating the Eagles 34-0. It was a win for the Raiders on the James Shabel Stadium turf for the first time in two years, ending a stretch of 10 consecutive home losses.
Cullman and Vinemont's success was against opponents ranked in the Top 10 of the state's 4A and 1A poll.
A last second field goal by Cullman sent No. 5 Fayette County home with a 37-34 setback. This was the third time in the month the Bearcats defeated an opponent that came to town with an unblemished record.
Victory was very sweet up in Vinemont. The Eagles scored their second upset in three weeks, using a pass play on the final snap that stunned No. 9 Addison 28-22. Vinemont said goodbye to a 9-game losing skid against the Bulldogs, sending them to their second loss in as many weeks after they had won 14 in a row in the regular season.
For the Raiders, Bearcats and Eagles, they have momentum going into October as the next four weeks will be hotly contested regional games.
Add winning performances by Fairview (34-14 over Priceville) and Holly Pond (54-6 vs. Asbury), the final Friday in September 2017, produced a 4-1 slate for county vs. non county competition.
Good Hope currently leads county schools in shutouts with two for the season. The Raiders kept Vinemont out of the end zone on September 1 and never let Cold Springs get inside the "red zone" all evening.
The last time the Raiders had a shutout was on October 13, 2006 at the expense of Hanceville.
Shutting out an opponent in the high school ranks is not an easy task to accomplish.
For Cullman, the Bearcats have turned in a 4-2 record through September, posting three wins at Woodard Stadium in four decisions.
Now Mark Britton's Bearcats have to put together winning ways on the road. Cullman is at Pell City this week for 6A, Region 7 and then visit Southside-Gadsden October 20. The 'Cats are 2-1 in the region, trying to move up if they can take down Pell City, who is tied for the regional lead with Oxford.
Vinemont is a work in progress for new coach Stephen Robinson. The Eagles have learned to come from getting clobbered one week to playing good enough the next time and put two exciting triumphs that has the community in a buzz.
The Eagles' 21-20 thriller against Hanceville on September 15 and the 28-22 upset of Addison two weeks later, were the reverse position for this trend after they were beaten by Locust Fork 44-6 in game two and 48-6 to Fultondale in their fourth game.
Vinemont is young in the backfield, but working hard and the results are showing. Now the Eagles go to Priceville that is 0-5 after getting toppled by Fairview 34-14 Friday night.
A 3-3 record entering the stretch run of the regional season looks promising for Vinemont.
Holly Pond is 4-1 at the halfway mark, like the Broncos were in 2016. Mike Bates had to replace plenty of skilled players and changed his offensive set to a run-style offense called the veer.
Through the last season and a half, the Broncos have gone 10-5, having as many wins in that span as Cullman and one more than West Point (9) and three more than Fairview (7).
For the Broncos to stay on the winning side, they must deal with Locust Fork at home, Hanceville on the road, at home with Fultondale and on to Vinemont to finish out 3A, Region 6.
Bates knows his Broncos will get seriously challenged. They will also be in a position to challenge back and rise above the competition.
Fairview feels good after dominating a winless opponent for the second time this fall. The Aggies ripped apart East Lawrence 42-7 on the 1st of September and end the month with a three-touchdown win in playing at Priceville for the first time.
East Lawrence and Priceville are combined 0-10. The other teams the Aggies have played in Corner and Mortimer Jordan are combined 7-5. Facing a West Point team this week that is on a high at 3-2 will be an ultimate challenge.
George Redding is now even in all time wins at Fairview with Dafford Smith at 65. The Aggies can send him to the top of the category if they knock off the Warriors this week at home. I'm sure coach Smith will be there and wish his former quarterback the very best.
So, we enter the stretch run of the 2017 regular season with plenty to look forward to from the four Fridays that await us in October.
Football in the fall in and around Cullman County is a pleasant site.
Top photo: the 4th quarter of the Cullman-Fayette County game.
Bottom photo: West Point has Friday off, Fairview is next.
Photo credit to Cullman High School & West Point High School