Corky Kell to sort state contenders in AAAAAA as five Top 10 teams are entered

Five of the Top 10 football teams in Class AAAAAA will play their opening games in the Georgia Dome on Saturday in the Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic, an annual high school kickoff event in its 22nd year.

The football season officially began Thursday with a single game in Savannah, and it resumes Friday with 44 games. Four of those include ranked teams going head to head with Blessed Trinity at Westminster, Burke County at Thomson, Eagle’s Landing Christian at Washington County and Woodward Academy at Lovett.

On Saturday, ESPN will be in Norcross to televise the defending AAAAAA champion Blue Devils, ranked in the top six of six national polls, playing Booker T. Washington of Miami, the No. 1 team in USA Today.

But the main event will be at the Georgia Dome with the first of five games starting at 9 a.m., each televised by GPB.

“We don’t call it the kickoff classic any more, but the Kell games do symbolize the start of high school football in Georgia, particularly in our area for the last 20 years,’’ said Brookwood coach Mark Crews, who has been a part of the event as an assistant or head coach from its start in 1992. ‘’Regardless of who plays Friday, everybody recognizes this as the kickoff of the season.’’

Here are the five best story lines of the 2013 Corky Kell Classic:

- State contenders: The Corky Kell is a quick sort of the early contenders in Georgia’s highest classification. The Top 10 teams present are No. 2 Colquitt County, No. 4 North Gwinnett, No. 5 Camden County, No. 6 McEachern and No. 10 Grayson. Brookwood, Walton and Peachtree Ridge have been ranked in other preseason polls. Kell is ranked No. 8 in AAAAA.

- Star players: Three of the top 15 college prospects in Georgia, and eight of the top 50, will be playing. According to 247Sports’ composite rankings, they are No. 7 Kalvaraz Bessent of Camden County, No. 9 D.J. Smith of Walton, No. 13 Dante Sawyer of North Gwinnett, No. 27 Chris Williams of Camden County, No. 35 C.J. Leggett of North Gwinnett, No. 37 Nick Glass of Peachtree Ridge, No. 49 Orlando Brown of Peachtree Ridge and No. 50 Nate Brown of North Gwinnett. Bessent and Williams, both defensive backs, have committed to Alabama. Orlando Brown, an offensive lineman, has committed to Tennessee. The rest are uncommitted.

- New coaches: Welton Coffey is making his debut at Camden County’s head coach, replacing a legend in Jeff Herron, who took a job at Prince Avenue Christian after leading Camden to three state titles in 13 seasons. Another new coach is Chattahoochee’s Michael Owens, who was part of the Kell Classic last season as an assistant at Brookwood. Owens replaces Terry Crowder, the Hooch’s head coach during the 2010 state championship season. Crowder was hired away to Creekview.

- Replacement players: High school football is a revolving door of players, but in no case this season is that more true than at Grayson, which began 2012 ranked No. 1 in one national poll. This year’s team lost 21 starters, including the nation’s top prospect in Robert Nkemdiche (now at Ole Miss) but is ranked No. 10 primarily on the tradition of six straight 10-win seasons. Fans who saw the 2012 Kell Classic also remember Walton running back Tyren Jones, who rushed for 302 yards and five touchdowns in a 35-24 victory over Brookwood. He’s gone to Alabama. D.J. Smith, one of the state’s top 10 prospects, figures to get the bulk of Jones’ carries for Walton.

New under center: Colquitt County coach Rush Propst said he wouldn’t trade new starter Daniel Mobley for any quarterback he’s ever coached, including John Parker Wilson, now in the NFL. Other new quarterbacks to watch are Camden County’s Dalton Sikes (replacing Georgia-signee Brice Ramsey), Walton’s Price Wilson (replacing Alabama-signee Parker McLeod), Joey McLane (brother of 2010 state title QB Ben McLane), Grayson’s Hunter Schuessler (brother of 2011 state title QB Nick Schuessler), Chattahoochee’s Tasleem “Taz” Wilson (move-in from Las Vegas) and North Gwinnett’s Hayden Sphire (son of head coach Bob Sphire).

Schedule:

Kell vs. Chattahoochee, 9 a.m.
Peachtree Ridge vs. Walton, 11:45 a.m.
Grayson vs. Colquitt County, 2:30 p.m.
North Gwinnett vs. Camden County, 5:30 p.m.
Brookwood vs. McEachern, 8:30 p.m.

50 comments Add your comment

Sportsnut

August 22nd, 2013
1:38 pm

Is there some way to talk to Corky or Kell about inviting someone different. Better to call it the Cobb – Gwinnett Season Opener. With special guest.

Flyer

August 22nd, 2013
2:28 pm

A lot of teams are invited, but not that many can commit to the financial obligation.

Camden74

August 22nd, 2013
2:50 pm

RELEASE the CATS, FEAR the PAW! Go CAMDEN COUNTY WILDCATS! :-D

Dekalb Co Guy

August 22nd, 2013
2:58 pm

lol @Sportsnut

It does seem to be like that most years.

Rufus S. DeMann

August 22nd, 2013
3:06 pm

Colquitt ain’t nothing but a bunch of poor, tiny, little, undersized Hawgs…BUT…we coming anyways. How we gonna stay on the field with them MONSTERS from Grayson is beyond me…but sometimes ya just close your eyes and trudge ahead. So without further ado….

GO YOU HAIRY HAWGS !!!!

Sportsnut

August 22nd, 2013
3:36 pm

@ Flyer == What expense? It cost the “metro” schools nothing. It is not true that they can’t afford the expense. What do the local schools have to spend to go to the Dome? Nothing. The only spending done is by Camden and Colquitt. So your reasoning does not hold water. Unless the schools are asked to contribute to the rental price for the Dome, all they need is transportation. I do believe the school system of those participating provide their transportation, so where’s the cost?

THE MASTER

August 22nd, 2013
4:02 pm

Camden74

August 22nd, 2013
4:08 pm

Sportsnut…….I believe it’s more about fan support than anything else. Not only your fans, but other fans who want to see your team play. Maybe they believe Lovejoy won’t measure up in that area, ya think? :-)

James R

August 22nd, 2013
4:13 pm

Corky Kell is all about Cobb-Gwinnett. GPB, AJC, GHSD, 5, 2& 11 don’t think there is nothing more prestigious. Time the Lovejoys, Westlakes, Tri-Cities, Hughes, Newnans, East Cowetas and the like get together to host there own version.

James R

August 22nd, 2013
4:17 pm

We can’t get the dome but I’m sure Ga Tech would love to have us. I bet we’ll have bigger crowds too.

Camden74

August 22nd, 2013
4:23 pm

God bless the child……….. :-)

Sportsnut

August 22nd, 2013
4:35 pm

74 == You may be right. What other reason could there be besides $$$? I know for a fact that Coach Hughes has tried to secure a place in the Classic to no avail. We will let the season opener go and shoot for the season closing in the Dome. That game is the REAL one we want to be in.

bksmith14

August 22nd, 2013
5:03 pm

I would like to see lowndes in the kell. I know all it would take to make that happen is mac making a phone call. wander why we havent ?

Vikingallday

August 22nd, 2013
5:05 pm

we are suppose to open the season next year with plant high out of fl bk. those guys are good. murray, the uga qb played their. They are on the level with st thomas aquainas.

bksmith14

August 22nd, 2013
5:06 pm

yea i have heard that we may open with plant. be fine with me. they are very good. one of the best in the state of fl

IndianPride

August 22nd, 2013
5:23 pm

@Sportsnut, the cost I believe is approximately $25,000 per school to enter the tournament. The teams however can bring the cost down my selling dome tickets at their respective schools and they are allowed to keep 100% of the ticket sales. That is why some teams you will see one year but not the next. This would also be why you don’t see many other schools participating in the Corky Kell some schools can’t afford the entry fee. I hope I gave a little more clarity in the matter.

Flyer

August 22nd, 2013
5:44 pm

@IndianPride — You are correct. Each team is required to buy 2200 or so tickets. They can then sell those tickets at 12.00 each.

Just wondering

August 22nd, 2013
5:56 pm

If this is about the best of Gwinnett why isn’t Buford High School participating? I know they are in the AAA classification but their teams always seem to have a number of highly rated D1 players. It seems like some of these 6A schools aren’t interested in playing them. Mill Creek is suppose to be loaded this year too.

Question

August 22nd, 2013
5:58 pm

If this is about the best of Gwinnett why isn’t Buford High School participating? I know they are in the AAA classification but their teams always seem to have a number of highly rated D1 players. It seems like some of these 6A schools aren’t interested in playing them. Mill Creek is suppose to be loaded this year too.

Todd Holcomb

August 22nd, 2013
5:59 pm

Flyer and others are correct – You must either pay a bunch up front, or buy a certain number of tickets. But just because you agree to do that doesn’t mean you’ll be invited. It’s a business venture. Event organizers are inviting the teams that they believe will draw the most fans. The assessment over who will bring the most fans is subjective, so the process is certainly fair game for criticism. But if they weren’t good at making those decisions, they wouldn’t have been in business for 22 years. There were those who thought in the 1990s that high school football could not make money in a big place like the GA Dome. The Corky Kell proved that wrong and paved the way (for better or for worse) for the state finals to be held there.

PACKER RB 79-81

August 22nd, 2013
6:00 pm

GO PACK GO!!!!!!!!!

Vikingallday

August 22nd, 2013
6:40 pm

Lowndes can afford to go. We have a $500,000k video scoreboard now at martin stadium. There are major d-1 colleges who dont have a scoreboard like this. Saw it the other night at the scrimmage and its awesome. Its huge.

prof.jess.

August 22nd, 2013
7:02 pm

The vikings might have a $ 500,000, video scoreboard,scoreboards dosen’t score any points on the field. Lowndes will make the playoffs, but will not get past the first round, cannot throw the ball!! They play good in spurts. If they play good against Colquit and Camden, could go but I truly believe that Lowndes is going to get their fannys kicked good.

Black123456789

August 22nd, 2013
7:14 pm

I was thinking same thing about inviting other teams! I’d rather watch Norcross than CK games. Just seem like boring football games every year!

WildHawg2012

August 22nd, 2013
7:17 pm

Lets go Packers!!!! Sorry I haven’t been showing much support on here but the work schedule crazy!! I have been reading the post when I can and I am ready for a fun season!!! @Sportsnut- I see u guys got the respect of the ranking com. Ok well deserved and @74- Camden will do what you guys do, but hey I wouldn’t expect anything less. Bk- Honestly I would like to see the Vikings playing in ATL too so talk to the coach and tell him to replace one of them cupcake games for a more competitive team from the north. Just saying. Anyway lets have a great season and good luck to all.

Sportsnut

August 22nd, 2013
7:56 pm

@ Todd == Thanks for the clarification. I guess the prestige of playing in the Dome to start the season is what some desire or feel would be good for their school. At 12.00 per ticket and selling approximately 2200 of them is only 26,400, a profit of 1,400. That is if the entry fee is 25,000 up front.The Boosters can make that with 1 maybe 2 fundraisers in the neighborhood. How does this benefit schools that have to pay for travel and also have a need for hotels and meals?

Did they not run an article about Camden winning the $20,000 coin flip? Given this new info, I prefer Lovejoy remain set on the last game there and not the first. Forget Corky Kell, Hello Tommy Bowl !

camdenfan2013

August 22nd, 2013
9:05 pm

@Sportsnut, It’s more like $33K to play on the CK Classic. You have to commit to a certain number of tickets and CK Classic event shirts. For that amount of money….

camdenfan2013

August 22nd, 2013
9:05 pm

I meant play in the Classic.

Empty

August 22nd, 2013
9:06 pm

Grayson/Colquitt and NorthGwinnett/Camden are the biggest games and will be the best games. This would have been the year for this “grand” event to involve some Dekalb powers or a Lovejoy or a Sandy Creek or a Gainesville but they are not in Cobb/Gwinnett or South Georgia, understanding McEachern and Brookwood started the whole thing.

Empty

August 22nd, 2013
9:09 pm

Understanding the money because that’s what it’s about I guess. Good football is good football though.

Vikingallday

August 22nd, 2013
10:12 pm

the scoreboard at lowndes may not score lowndes any points but it sure is nice.

PackGATA

August 22nd, 2013
10:28 pm

A trick the Packers have done with the ticket sales is include them into the price of our home season tickets. If you bought season tickets this year you had no chose you paid for KC tickets weather you wanted them or not. So I got three tickets for sale!!! I hate watching a high school football game in the Dome. Can’t fill the place, atmosphere is awful. Both bands playing at same time echoing off of all the empty seats, it sounds horrible. Rather watch my Packers play in Hawg Pen, the Concrete Palace, or even Death Valley any day over the Dome! I know its cool for the kids, but I shouldn’t have to pay for tickets I’m not planning on using.

GoldenIslesFan

August 22nd, 2013
10:31 pm

GO CAMDEN COUNTY WILDCATS!!!!!!

Camden74

August 22nd, 2013
11:00 pm

The CK is a great experience for the players. The games are broadcast state wide on GPB and worldwide on the web. Also, you’ll be surprised as to how many scouts show up at the game, and that’s good for all participants……..GO CAMDEN, FEAR the PAW!!!! :-D

Black&Gold24

August 22nd, 2013
11:05 pm

There will be great games in the dome this weekend. I have been waiting for months for this weekend. I wish Camden and Colquitt the best of luck. Let’s bring home a 2-0 record to region 1AAAAAA. I hope the Cats and Hawgs meet on the dome turf for it all. Any other team from our region will be watching on television.

wolfbait67

August 23rd, 2013
12:32 am

anybody know how Gainesville/Grayson came out last Friday………Camden 74: you guys have been to the Gloryland of success so you guys know how playing in the dome is, but good to see Colzuitt and Camden coming up…….it will probably be as close as any of the Gwinnett/Cobb tandem get to the Dome is week one….hopefully # 15 will be in the same place…Norcross will be the team heading down the tracks in 6 A vs one of you Region 1 guys…good luck

South Ga. Football

August 23rd, 2013
3:27 am

I don’t understand why the South schools are even fooling with the Corky Kell. We can get some big games here to start the season. Valdosta, Camden , Moultrie coaches tried to put together a “SOUTH GEORGIA CLASSIC” with Byres SC, Lincoln, Hoover and Foley, AL. However, the head man over at the “CONCRETE PALACE” wanted no parts of it. Thomas County Central offered to fill in, but the deal fell apart!!

WOW

August 23rd, 2013
7:43 am

WHY is Peachtree Ridge in the Kickoff Classic? They have been pounded the past two seasons here and they have great talent. A team that does not perform well on friday nights. They are again a 5-5 team (coaching ???). Bad Choice.

Si

August 23rd, 2013
8:30 am

WOW, its becuase PR has Jack($$$). A D1 QB looked at me the other day and said, I wish they would take the top 8 teams from the previous year to play in the dome for the CK Classic.

I know Hunter and Dorsey make all the decisions.

ricohman

August 23rd, 2013
8:42 am

Looking forward to another great year of high school football in the state of Georgia. Heading to the dome tomorrow morning to watch my beloved Camden County Wildcats. No Jeff Heron on the sidelines is going to take some getting used to but Coach Coffey has run this offense for the past couple years and don”t see us missing a beat. Lost some great players from last year but like all good programs the youngsters will step up to fill their shows and create there own legacy here in Kinsland. Really looking forward to Valdosta, Lowndes, and Colquitt visiting Kingsland this season. Good luck to the Hawgs against Grayson. GoO WILDCATS!!!

Todd Holcomb

August 23rd, 2013
8:49 am

” don’t understand why the South schools are even fooling with the Corky Kell. We can get some big games here to start the season.”

Two reasons – One is that they hope to get back to the Dome in December. It’s good experience to play in that stadium and to take that road trip. Two is that it’s not always that easy to find a good non-region opponent when you’re in South Georgia. There aren’t that many big schools with good football programs down there outside the region. You often have to travel a long ways to get it. Look at who Lowndes is playing in its non-region games.

Fred

August 23rd, 2013
10:34 am

First and foremost the CK is a fund raising event benefiting the Corky Kell Scholarship fund. It is a TWO year commitment and there is a minimum amount of funding required that is fairly significant. In effect, your school commits to a $50,000 commitment (based on $25K per year – not positive that is the exact amount). It has evolved into more of a state wide showcase with invitations to many of the S Ga power house schools. While there are some very good teams in the lower classifications you only have to watch the Championship games in December to realize that many of the good lower classification teams would struggle to meet the financial commitment.

BlueDevilChamps

August 23rd, 2013
3:53 pm

South Georgia and Cobb County football?!?!?! blahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Titletown USA

August 23rd, 2013
4:12 pm

Lowndes has traditionally not played anyone of importance/quality in the their non-region scheduling and opening game(s). I think his has an adverse effect on the team, imo.

Mountain Man

August 23rd, 2013
4:16 pm

Brookwood will be in it no mater what.Because of dave hunter. brookwood x coach.He was always a sore loser. I know Because when Tally Johnson beat him with two field goals. He turn his back and walk away. Without a hand shake and now he does play by play in the playoffs.

bksmith14

August 23rd, 2013
6:02 pm

We all have our opinions …if Lowndes would have had a qb that was good the last two years we may be talking about another state title. Its not every year you have a Greg ried or telvin smith or dariet perry etc…players like this come and go. The sun don’t shine on t he same dogs rear end every year…we have been good the last 4 years..but not quite on the level we were in 04-09. Its coming though…the talen is here now at Lowndes in 9th and 10th grade. We will have another solid team this year that will challenge for the region and a very very good defense..one of the best in the state. Be patient

bksmith14

August 23rd, 2013
6:09 pm

There rare pros and cons to having a tough non region schedule…pros are it gets your team ready for the tough region and playoff run. It gives your team valuable experience in learning how to deal with adversity.

The cons to it are , INJURIES . Players getting hurt or lost for the season in MEANINGLESS GAMES. Also when playing a little softer schedule…you can take it like a practice/scrimmage game and try diff things that you want to have polished by the tome region gets here.

Pro–it gets your team on a roll. Yea the competition may be down..but your guys get to taste success early and it has a snowball effect. From a mental standpoint its good for the kids. These are kids we are talking about, not nfl players.

Coach mac wants to have his team healthy for the region and playoff run and our B team gets valuable playing time in the 4th qtr of a lot of these games against lesser competition and you can rest your starters.

We can go back and forth on this all day. Our region is a Gauntlet…so why schedule a gauntlet non region.?

Colquitt just lost their best Rb sanders in a scrimmage against norcross…ouch!!

Camden74

August 23rd, 2013
7:05 pm

Wolfie wolfie wolfie, thanks for the kind wishes! Now, I have to look both ways before I cross the track at the park. Don’t want to get hit by a train! Looking forward to a great classic tomorrow. Go get em Camden and Colquitt! :-D

WildHawg2012

August 23rd, 2013
9:50 pm

@bk- the kid we have hurt is not our best RB he is our best CB. But he will be ready for u guys u can count on that. U can dress it up anyway u want to but I still think u guys the most cupcakes in the region again. Yeah u guys have owned us over the years maybe because we are a little banged up from playing teams with talent while u guys have well played 4 jv teams. So maybe playing those hard teams does backfire on us a little bit but that’s just what we do over here. If we are going to loose at least it is to well respected teams. When we win the region and get home field advantage we will show u guys how to not lose at home in the playoffs.

WildHawg2012

August 23rd, 2013
9:54 pm

@74-Best of luck to u guys and safe travels. Go Cats give them @#$$