2013 football schedules: 10 best ‘new’ games

The Georgia High School Association published the 2013 football schedules this week.

Football schedules during odd years (ie, 2013) generally feature the same opponents as the previous season because they are generally played under two-year contracts, but there are several good exceptions.

Here are the 10 best ‘’new’’ games on the 2013 schedule:

1. Booker T. Washington (Fla.) at Norcross: Norcross returns 16 starters – including three blue-chip recruits – from a team that went 15-0 and won Class AAAAAA last season. That’s the kind of glitz that attracts national TV audiences, especially when matched against Florida’s reigning Class 4A champion. The game is set for Aug. 24. Each team has three prospects who are rated four stars by Rivals.com. They are DE Loenzo Carter (rated No. 1 at his position nationally), WR Myles Autry and LB Kevin Mouhon for Norcross and QB Treon Harris, DE Chad Thomas and DB Nigel Patten for BTW, which was 13-1 last season. Expect both to be nationally ranked. Norcross might be No. 1.

2. Colquitt County at Hoover (Ala.): Colquitt County head coach Rush Propst returns to Hoover, where he led the Buccaneers to five state championships. Since he left in 2007, Hoover has remained a national power while Colquitt has rekindled its glory days under Propst, who has taken the Packers to four straight state semifinal appearances. ESPN wanted to televise the game, but the GHSA denied Colquitt’s request to play on Labor Day. Instead, it will be played on a Friday, perhaps with no TV. But the media still will take note of the former “Two-A-Days” TV star’s Alabama return.  ‘’The Hoover deal is special,’’ Propst said. “There will be a great crowd, and there will be lot said and written with their continued success and the success that we’ve had here.  It will be an electric atmosphere, and our kids need to see that.’’ Hoover will come to Moultrie in 2014.

3. North Gwinnett at Grayson: The annual North Gwinnett double-header that brought in out-of-state powers such as Byrnes (S.C.) and Prattville (Ala.) to play Georgia teams over the years has run its course after five seasons. So instead of North Gwinnet and Grayson playing two out-of-state teams as they did last season, as part of the National Gridiron Challenge, the two Gwinnett County powerhouses will play each other on Aug. 30 at Grayson. North Gwinnett coach Bob Sphire said the Gridiron Challenge (which grew to four scheduled games in 2012) served its purpose. “When we first went that route, it was good in many ways,’’ Sphire said. “The North Gwinnett community didn’t believe it belonged in that [national] setting, and it elevated the community and the program. Now, the whole national thing has changed the last several years in terms of scheduling. There are just too many hands in the pie now. My goal is to challenge our guys to be prepared for our region. What better opportunity to keep your guys ready than Grayson.’’ Over the past six seasons, Grayson (from Region 8-AAAAAA) is 70-11, and North Gwinnett (7-AAAAAA) is 67-11. Grayson and North Gwinnett have played each other twice, both times in the second round of the state playoffs. Each time, it has been a shocker. North Gwinnett was ranked No. 2 in 2010 and Grayson was No. 3 in 2012 when beaten.

4. Colquitt County vs. Grayson: They’ve met in two semifinals the past three seasons, both at Grayson. This will be the first meeting in the regular season in this Metro Atlanta-South Georgia rivalry that will be the third game of the Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome on Aug. 24. Colquitt County beat Grayson 31-24 in the 2010 semifinals, and Grayson beat Colquitt 35-31 in the 2011 semis.

5. Camden County vs. North Gwinnett: No two teams have won more games in the highest classification than Camden and North Gwinnett since 2006, when Bob Sphire came to North. Camden is 83-11 in that time with two state titles (2008, 2009. North Gwinnett is 78-13. Camden has a new head coach in Welton Coffey, who was promoted from offensive coordinator to replaces Jeff Herron (now at Prince Avenue Christian). Sphire (Kentucky) and Coffey (Florida) have won state titles as head coaches in other states.

6. M.L. King vs. Blanche Ely (Fla.): M.L. King and Stephenson have invited a couple of Florida teams to play them in a double-header on Aug. 23 at Hallford Stadium. (See Stephenson vs. Norland below). M.L. King is playing Blanche Ely of Pompano Beach. Ely was only 5-6 last season but won state titles in 2002, 2003 and 2006). M.L. King will be breaking in a new coach in Cortez Allen from Newton.

7. Thomas County Central at Valdosta: Thomas Central played Colquitt County in this spot last year, but Thomas Central accommodated the Packers and lined up Valdosta instead. The TCC-Colquitt series will be missed because TCC beat Colquitt 35-29 in overtime in 2010, and Colquitt won 35-33 last season. The good news is that Valdosta was available Aug. 30. In 2012, Valdosta played North Augusta (S.C.) that week at North Gwinnett. TCC and Valdosta have not played since 1985, when they were Region 1-AAAA opponents.

8. Lincoln (Tallahassee, Fla.) vs. South Gwinnett: South Gwinnett opened with Norcross last year, but the BT Washington deal freed South Gwinnett to play another Florida opponent in Lincoln. This game will be played as part of an Aug. 24 double-header at Norcross. South Gwinnett was 9-3 last season, with two losses to Norcross, and returns a couple of D-1 prospects in RB Josh Boyd and WR Coray Keel. Lincoln was 12-2 last season and finished as runner-up in Florida’s Class 7A.

9. Stephenson vs. Norland (Fla.): Norland was 8-3 (and won state titles in 2002 and 2011). Stephenson had been part of the North Gwinnett four-game event last year, but its opponent, Pine Forest Forest of Pensacola, pulled out because of a hurricane. This will be the second game of the double-header that includes M.L. King vs. Ely.

10. Lassiter at McEachern: The East Cobb vs. West Cobb doubleheader at McEachern will have Lassiter vs. McEachern and Walton vs. Hillgrove on Aug. 30. Last season, East swept West as Lassiter beat Hillgrove 37-29 and Walton beat McEachern 37-35. Then all four lost in the first round. But for Lassiter, which went 10-0 before its overtime playoff loss to Brookwood, it will be interesting to see if the QB tradition continues after the graduation of Eddie Printz (successor for Hutson Mason). The new quarterback could be Will Anderson, the transfer who set school records at Wesleyan. Meanwhile, McEachern has one of the state’s best quarterbacks in Ty Clemons, who is more the runner type. Lassiter and McEachern have played only once. Lassiter beat McEachern 20-17 in the 2011 second round.

Other observations from the 2013 schedule:

-Camden County will have a better path toward defending its title in Region 1-AAAAAA because the ’13 schedule brings Lowndes, Colquitt County and Valdosta to Kingsland. New Camden coach Welton Coffey seems to like these new rivalries after Camden played for years against overmatched Savannah teams in old Region 3. ‘’How awesome is that for our kids to have the opportunity to play such storied programs on their field,’’ Coffey said. “I was at Valdosta [as an assistant]. They’re great people. Now they have the opportunity to come to our place. We should appreciate these moments and enjoy it, man.’’

-The matchups for the Corky Kell Classic, which will be Aug. 24 at the Georgia Dome, were announced in December, but they’re worth repeating: Chattahoochee vs. Kell (9 a.m.), Peachtree Ridge vs. Walton (11:45 a.m.), Colquitt County vs. Grayson (2:30 p.m.), Camden County vs. North Gwinnet (5:30 p.m.), Brookwood vs. McEachern (8:30 p.m.).

-Only two teams in the state that are playing full varsity schedules do not have 10 games, according to the GHSA schedules. They are Windsor Forest and Bainbridge. Both had 2012 games against out-of-state opponents that they are not playing again. Both have Aug. 30 as an open date. What would it take to get you guys together?

-Two other teams involved with M.L. King in last year’s Tri-Cities double-header (Stockbridge and Tri-Cities) will now play each other on Aug. 30, while the fourth team (Washington) will play KIPP Atlanta Collegiate, which is just starting varsity football, on Aug. 31. KIPP stands for Knowledge Is Power Program. It’s a prep school established under state charter school laws.

25 comments Add your comment

John

May 8th, 2013
5:08 pm

Murphy (NC.) at Darlington on August 23 is another interesting new matchup. Murphy is the defending North Carolina Class A state champion and replaces Christian Academy of Knoxville on the Darlington schedule. The two teams split their games in 2008 and 2009 with the Darlington win at Murphy in 2009 being one of those unforgettable games. The game was played in heavy fog. With the teams tied at 20-20 in the final minute, the Murphy quarterback apparently became confused about where he was on the field and took a safety that gave Darlington the 22-20 win.

Wildhawg2012

May 8th, 2013
6:07 pm

Man Valdosta will have their hands full with Thomas County Central but it will a great game. Man football can’t get here fast enough!!! My Packers will have to come out swinging to begin the season but i think we have a few round house puches and some deadly upper cuts so we should be fine!!! But we shall see Go Pack Go!!!

Warner Robins Vs Northside

May 8th, 2013
6:35 pm

Could this finally be the year the Demons recapture the region title.

Blu eagle

May 8th, 2013
6:56 pm

Do not get your hopes up just yet we will have to see them play a few games.the first game against f branch will tell a lot against a quality opponent but if wr is gonna have success against northside it should be this season.

Blu eagle

May 8th, 2013
6:59 pm

You need to get some middle ga flavor in that corky crap in terms of northside and w robins.

Todd Holcomb

May 8th, 2013
8:48 pm

John – Thanks for pointing out the Darlington-Murphy game. I noticed it as a change in Darlington’s schedule, as there aren’t but about 25 ‘new’ games out there, but I did not realize that Murphy was a state champion. That’s definitely a game to watch.

Todd Holcomb

May 8th, 2013
8:52 pm

Blue eagle – Would love to see some middle Georgia teams in the Corky Kell. If I could make an order, it might be Tucker-Northside.

Silver Creek Dawg

May 9th, 2013
7:49 am

As a WFHS alum, I would like to see the Windsor-Bainbridge matchup. It will never happen though. Savannah public schools administration is too cheap to send a team that far out of town (about 4.5 hours on a bus) for a non-region game. The only way it happens is if Bainbridge comes to Savannah.

DawgVoice

May 9th, 2013
8:26 am

Todd the one we are all waiting to see here in the Southern Crescent is on September 20th when the new look Dutchtown Bulldogs under coach Kevin “Bull” Jones travel to Clayton County to take on the Riverdale Raiders who are now under the direction of former Dutchtown Associate Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Terry Herrod. Should be interesting.

[...] AJC.com has posted a list of the 10 ‘new’ best games for the upcoming 2013 football season. Valdosta versus Thomas County Central and Colquitt at Hoover (AL.) are included in the top 10. View the entire list here [...]

pbt

May 9th, 2013
10:17 am

Colquitt County at Hoover will be worth the price of admission. Does hoover still play in that baseball field. i went to a hoover game in 2005 or 2006 when they played John Curtis the game was at the B-Barons staduim.

Old Friend

May 9th, 2013
1:35 pm

FYI, the current Murphy,NC QB has played baseball for the past 7+ years around Cobb for East Cobb and The Roadrunners. He is the real deal in both sports.

wolf

May 9th, 2013
2:22 pm

BUFORD AT GAINESVILLE?!?!!!

FarTrain

May 9th, 2013
2:33 pm

Leave it up to the GHSA to put a damper on what could be the best televised high school game in years. There is nothing wrong with granting an exception for that game on Labor Day. The GHSA is run by some “old fogies” living in the Dark Ages! That would be great exposure for not only the schools but the the state as well.

goober

May 9th, 2013
5:15 pm

Let Bainbridge and WF play in Valdosta on Sat. Aug. 31, either at Valdosta’s or Lowndes’ field. 3-hr drive for Windsor, 2-hr drive for Bainbridge. Start at 7:00 and neither is home late and it’s a Saturday anyway. What’d ya say, TitleTown USA? Isn’t it about time that we have a “Corky Kell”-like grouping of games in the High School Football Capital of the Universe?

Todd Holcomb

May 9th, 2013
7:19 pm

Hey Goober – I like how you think. I should have been a scheduler for a living. I like that sort of thing.

”BUFORD AT GAINESVILLE?!?!!!” — These are ”new” games. Buford played Gainesville last season.

FarTrain – I agree that Colquitt- Hoover on Labor Day would’ve hurt no one. Colquitt’s next game would be that Saturday. By playing on Friday, they’ll have to get out of school early, so more time out of class playing then than Monday. But I also understand how the GHSA invites more requests for rules exceptions if they begin doing favors for national TV.

LHSAlum33

May 10th, 2013
11:54 am

These are all some good games! I wish Lovejoy would venture off and get some recognition during the season instead of waiting for the post season!! One thing is for sure though, Colquitt County may definitely have the toughest schedule in the state for any class!

dekalbFB1

May 10th, 2013
2:13 pm

Congrats! MLK & Stephenson for thinking out of the box. This may play off when the playoffs comes arounds.I wish them SUCESS!!!!

sportsnut

May 10th, 2013
4:54 pm

@ LHS33 == The time is coming. Be patient. What the Cat’s are about to do will make everyone look.

Gamer

May 10th, 2013
5:17 pm

Todd,

Northside would be blasted by Tucker this year. Maybe in 2014/15 when Northside comes back. Tucker stays loaded.

Wildhawg2012

May 11th, 2013
5:01 pm

Colquitt County Packers!!!!!! Enough Said!!!! Its on and i cant wait!!!

MIGHTY LION KING

May 13th, 2013
2:02 pm

Well for the most part im glad to see MLK name in the “top recognition” categories again!! I cant wait to see how MLK n STEPHENSON fair off btw 2 FL teams.. This should be another good way to earn not only the respect of our own state now but FL as well..Doesnt really matter the opponent..
Line em up however they want to,same results as always!! 3 CONSECUTIVE TIME DEKALB COUNTY/6-5AAAAA REGION CHAMPS “M.L.KING” !! HERE TO STAY!!!

P.S. @ TODD

DONT FORGET ABOUT US IN THE 50 N 50 LINE UP LOL!!

ONE OF THE STATE’S BEST INDEED!!!

LION NATION/THE DOMINATION!!!

dekalbFB1

May 14th, 2013
9:38 am

I agree with MIGHTY LION KING. The bigger the stage will only help both MLK and Stephenson. Also help with recruiting for seniors and juniors. Other football programs should take notice, that is why the last few years MLK & Stephenson has a BIG signing day! Todd, if MLK don’t make your 50-N-50, that will leave alot to be desire!!!!

sportsnut

May 14th, 2013
9:39 am

@Wildhawg2012 == Sept. 6th.

MIGHTY LION KING

May 14th, 2013
4:02 pm

@ dekalbFB1 i most diffently agree!! They have big signing days not because of the talent of the coaches to recruit many players to the team, but because of the attributes and skill level the players are able to perform on the field! Many teams get mad at STEPHENSON for ranking so high in the nation when it comes to recruiting although they are yet to present a championship, but what a player wants the most after winning a championship/not winning a championship is to be picked up by any great college that would take them further to reach their dream of the NFL! Which is why stephenson has so many NFL draftees and why so many players fight to go to schools like MLK AND STEPHENSON!! Not only are these two teams a beast on the field (yet they havent been crowned),but they also produce many college scholarships though i will say STEPHENSON does a better job of producing NFL draftees! Not to turn away from my MLK FAM, but truth is truth! Nonetheless the rivalry between these two teams only makes both teams become better and better each yr! IF you ever notice MLK and STEPHENSON are always tit for tat with everything until it comes down to them facing off.. Thats why i love these two teams because they have the best rivalry in the state to me!! I kno its a retorical ? but do u attend the mlk/stephenson games DEKALBFB1?? u see how hard it is to get into those games?? BEST HS FOOTBALL RIVALRY EVER!!