The 2012 football schedule was released Tuesday by the Georgia High School Association. Go here to check it out.
Here are 10 things worth noting –
- Camden County, a strong contender in Class AAAAAA with Georgia-committed seniors J.J. Green and Brice Ramsey, got the road schedule of death in newly configured Region 1. The Wildcats must travel to Valdosta (Sept. 28), Lowndes (Nov. 2) and Colquitt County (Nov. 9). Camden are 92-0 in games that counted in the region standings under Jeff Herron, who arrived in 2000.
- Grayson will open defense of its state title at the five-game Corky Kell Classic on Aug. 25 at the Georgia Dome. The Corky Kell schedule was released months ago, but it’s worth repeating.
9 a.m. – Chattahoochee vs. Kell
11:45 a.m. – Grayson vs. McEachern
2:45 p.m. – Colquitt County vs. North Gwinnett
5:30 p.m. – Peachtree Ridge vs. Camden County
8:30 p.m. – Walton vs. Brookwood
- Don’t be surprised if Grayson is ranked No. 1 in some preseason national polls. Aside from winning Class AAAAAA, Grayson must get by Miami Central on Aug. 31 to win a national championship. Central was Florida’s Class 6A runner-up last season and returns Joseph Yearby, who rushed for 2,260 yards last season. Grayson returns 10 starters on defense led by defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, perhaps the nation’s No. 1 prospect.
- East Cobb and West Cobb are developing a rivalry that will play out at McEachern’s Cantrell Stadium on Aug. 31. Lassiter (10-4 in 2011) will play Hillgrove (11-1), and Walton (14-1) will play McEachern (10-2).
- Hallford Stadium in DeKalb County should raise prices and take advantage of all the blockbusters slated for Region 6-AAAAA, which features M.L. King and Stephenson moving from the highest classification to play with reigning AAAA champion Tucker and Southwest DeKalb.
Here are six games worth seeing there:
Sept. 8 – MLK vs. SWD
Sept. 28 – SWD vs. Stephenson
Oct. 12 – Tucker vs. Stephenson
Oct. 19 – SWD vs. Tucker
Oct. 26 – MLK vs. Stephenson
Nov. 2 – MLK vs. Tucker
- Reigning Class AA champion Calhoun has won 37 straight regular-season games. That streak will be in jeopardy on Sept. 14, if not before, when the Yellow Jackets play Carrollton (11-2 in AAA last season) for the first time since 1985. That was when Charlie Grisham (five state titles) was Carrollton’s coach. Calhoun also will be at risk early against Ridgeland (Aug. 31) and Dalton (Sept. 7).
- Buford, which moves up to AAA after winning four of the past five titles in AA, has only nine games. Buford coach Jess Simpson said Tuesday he thinks he has a 10th opponent lined up but didn’t want to reveal for fear it would fall through. Buford is not an attractive opponent because of the school’s success, but Simpson said that wasn’t a big reason for the scheduling issues this season. “We’re going to be so young and inexperienced, this is probably the year people want to play Buford,’’ he said. Simpson believes state-playoff tiebreakers that reward teams for winning against same-class opponents are the biggest obstacle to getting willing opponents.As it stands, Buford has a pretty easy slate in new 7-AAA, although a non-region tilt with Gainesville and all-state quarterback Deshaun Watson should be good. After losing 49-0 last season, Gainesville could be favored this time.
- Lovett is playing Marist in football for the first time ever. That’s pretty remarkable for two metro Atlanta private schools that go back more than 50 years. The schools are not that different in size, but Marist typically plays in a higher classification. And they’re on different sides of downtown Atlanta. Lovett also will be playing another Catholic school from DeKalb, St. Pius, for the first time since 1983. Lovett’s new schedule is partly the work of new Region 6-AA, which has only five teams, making it the smallest region in the state. That means that Lovett, GAC, Westminster, Wesleyan and Hapeville Charter must find six non-region games. GAC and Wesleyan are playing teams from Tennessee. GAC is playing Savannah. Westminster is playing Laney of Augusta and Thomasville.
- With all the talk of every region (except 6-AA) being subdivided by the GHSA, that idea designed to save travel time didn’t make its way into football. Only eight out of 48 regions chose the option of subdividing, which is actually down a bit from the 12 out of 40 from the past two years. That’s 16 fewer playoff berths that will be decided by those “region play-in” things. Of course, those are offset by the 24 Class A playoff berths (not counting the region champions) that will be determined by the dreaded power rankings. The GHSA split 47 of 48 regions in half for 2012-13 to allow regions to play as half-regions if they thought it would help with travel. Apparentlly it’s not an issue in this sport.
- There are several intriguing notes and nuggets that might not merit a whole paragraph, but are worth mentioning. For example, Thomas County Central and Marist renew their rivalry on Sept. 7 at Marist. For those who remember their epic games in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, that game should be fun. Northside-Warner Robins plays at Flowery Branch on Oct. 31. Flowery Branch also plays Gainesville in a Nov. 9 game. Good to see those in the same region (8-AAAAA) again. Just because public schools don’t want to compete against private schools in the playoffs doesn’t mean they don’t want to play each other, period. On Sept. 9, Class A state power Clinch County of south Georgia will visit Eagle’s Landing Christian. That’s probably the season’s best public-private game in A. And finally, there are seven schools playing their first varsity games in 2012 – Cambridge, B.E.S.T. Academy, Coahulla Creek, Christian Heritage, Mount Vernon Presbyterian, Providence Christian and Rabun Gap.