When the 2013 Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic tees off Aug. 24, it will mark the year's biggest football event. No other site this year will see five football games in a single day. Ten of the best teams in the state pair off, and the winning traditions of each school give the participants the confidence that the game can go their way. The action will be broadcasted live on GPB Sports, as well as on the radio waves with Atlanta's 92.9 FM picking up the coverage for the first time this year.
Kell and Chattahoochee will take the field first in the 9:00 a.m. kickoff. In the 2012 Classic, the Longhorns won 19-8. UAB commit Collin Lisa lines up at receiver for Chattahoochee, which averaged just south of 30.0 points per game last season. The Kell secondary looks to be strong once again and will have Jay Moxey, Julian Burris, Errol Breaux and Kennesaw State-commit Taylor Henkle leading the group. Senior quarterback Matthew McGuigan returns under center.
Walton and Peachtree Ridge play in the second game, and Walton head coach Rocky Hidalgo will be without Alabama signees QB Parker McLeod and Tyren Jones, as well as last season's best lineman, Georgia signee Brandon Kublanow. Louisiana Tech pledge Price Wilson takes command of the Raiders' offense at quarterback and has the gifted DJ Smith to spark plays when needed. Peachtree Ridge will use UGA commit Nick Glass to disrupt the Walton offense, and offensively will be led by standout tackle Orlando Brown, running back Jordan Ellis and quarterback Chance Thrasher. Peachtree Ridge was the only one of the 10 teams in the 2013 Kell Classic that did not reach the playoffs last year.
In the middle matchup, Grayson plays Colquitt County. The Packers were a semifinalist last season and Grayson won the state title in 2011. Colquitt County head coach Rush Propst admits the Moultrie school might have "bit off a little more than they can chew" with their schedule this season. Quarterback Daniel Mobley takes over a young offense and has Sihiem King as his go-to playmaker. Propst believes Ole Miss commit Jamiyus Pittman is one of the best defensive tackles in the state. Grayson replaces a defense that allowed less than 9.0 points per game over the past two seasons.
The fourth game is the second north vs. south showdown as North Gwinnett faces Camden County. The Wildcats have flown under the radar with legendary head coach Jeff Herron's departure to Class A Prince Avenue Christian this season. Welton Coffey is the new head coach and has five starters returning to each side of the ball. Under Herron, the 2012 offense scored 39 points per game and the defense allowed 10 points per game.
North Gwinnett is led by quarterback Hayden Sphire and his all-state receiving corps. Nate Brown, Caleb Scott and Daniel Imatorbhebhe form perhaps the best receiving trio in the state, and defensively 4-star end Dante Sawyer terrorizes the backfield.
In the final game, Brookwood will take on McEachern. Brookwood saw Walton's Jones carry the ball for five touchdowns and 302 yards in the 2012 Classic. Brookwood responded by beating the No. 1 ranked Lassiter Trojans in the playoffs nine games later that season and improved throughout.
Keeping the Indians from repeating what Walton did last year will be tough, because of the speed of McEachern's offense. Junior Taj Griffin is a 5-star running back that teams up with speedy quarterback Ty Clemmons. This duo rushed for more than 250 yards routinely last season. Defensive end Henry Famurewa is a Louisville commit and is a force on the line of scrimmage.
Brookwood head coach Mark Crews commented recently in an exclusive interview with Score on how Brookwood plans to slow down the Indians: "Sometimes the best defense is good offense. We are going to try and control the ball and make plays on offense to keep the ball out of their hands."
In terms of matchups and talent, the Corky Kell Classic always delivers.