The 2017 MetroPCS Corky Kell Classic marks the second year of the event’s three-day, nine-game lineup. Planning for this massive event is fully underway and coaches and administration from each school along with event coordinator Dave Hunter were among those in attendance at Brookwood High School on Wednesday to discuss the 26th annual kickoff classic.
The Corky Kell Classic will kick off the high school football season on Thursday, August 17 with a double-header at Mercer’s Five Star Stadium. The opening game will feature Lee County vs. Mary Persons and the backend of the double-header will stage Jones County vs. Houston County.
Friday and Saturday’s games will make history as the first games ever played in the newly transformed Georgia State Stadium. Georgia State is turning Turner Field into its new football stadium and the Panthers’ athletic program is working with the Corky Kell Classic to stage the venue’s grand debut.
Friday will kickoff with an intriguing battle with Roswell and South Forsyth. South Forsyth made its first-ever appearance in the Corky Kell Classic last year, but could not find its offensive rhythm and fell to Hillgrove 27-14. This year, head coach Jeff Arnette believes his team will be better prepared for the big stage and that playing a team like Roswell will add focus to their preparation for the season.
“The offseason has a little extra umph in it when you are getting ready to open up against a team like Roswell,” said Arnette. “When we opened last season after winning the region and going into the third round, we lost a lot of kids so we had a lot of kids out there playing in the Corky Kell. It was the first time in the Corky Kell for our program and the first time a lot of these guys saw the field at the varsity level. This year we have a lot of kids that have played before and have been on this stage and I’m hoping that makes a big difference for us this time.”
Current sophomore Drew Morris is taking over the quarterback duties and he has plenty of experience already under his belt. After injuries to Davis Shanely late in the season, Morris took over and tossed four touchdowns with just one interception in the War Eagles’ final three games.
“We are already starting with that,” said Arnette about getting his quarterback ready for Roswell. “The good thing is he played for us last year at wide receiver and has played quarterback all his life so he has prepared for this for a long long time. It is exciting anytime you get to play against a team like Roswell and a program like that. It is an exciting challenge for us.”
Following the battle between South Forsyth and Roswell is Roswell’s former head coach John Ford making his coaching debut with Buford as they take on Hillgrove.
Roswell and Buford were both state finalist last season that will have new head coaches making their debuts.
Saturday’s five-game marathon will open with Tucker, another state finalist from last year, and the Kell Longhorns, who are still looking for their next head coach. The final four games feature five Gwinnett schools with Norcross taking on Colquitt County in the day’s third game. This is the first time Norcross and Colquitt County have met since Norcross defeated the Packers in the semifinals back-to-back seasons in 2012 and 2013 in route to their first and only state titles. Colquitt County went back-to-back the next two seasons in Class 6A.
Corky Kell Schedule
Aug. 17 at Mercer
5:15—Lee County vs. Mary Persons
8:15—Houston County vs. Jones County
Aug. 18 at Georgia State Stadium
5:30 – South Forsyth vs. Roswell
8:30- Buford vs. Hillgrove
Aug. 19 at Georgia State Stadium
9:00—Kell vs. Tucker
11:45—Archer vs. Brookwood
2:45—Colquitt County vs. Norcross
5:45-Mill Creek vs. McEachern
8:45-North Gwinnett vs. Walton