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This week, we will be counting down to the Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic with game previews each day leading up to Saturday. We feature Chattahoochee vs. Kell today. See below for each team's preview as well as a look at the matchup. Also, check the left panel for our preseason rankings. 

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In This Issue
Metro PCS Corky Kell Schedule
Chattachoochee vs. Kell Preview
Kell Season Preview
Chattahoochee Season Preview
Score Poll
Best Stories From Around the State
What Cobb County school did Kell coach Derek Cook lead prior to taking the job with the Longhorns? 

Today's answer can  
be found in the newsletter!

Friday's Answer:
New South Cobb head coach Michael Youngblood formerly coached at Burke County. 



Georgia Dome Aug. 24




Kell vs. Chattahoochee




Peachtree Ridge vs. Walton



2:30 p.m.

Grayson vs. Colquitt County




Camden County vs. North Gwinnett




Brookwood vs. McEachern 8:30p.m.








1.  Norcross
2.  Colquitt Co.
3.  North Gwinnett
4.  McEachern
5.  Lowndes
6.  North Cobb
7.  Mill Creek
8.  Walton
9.  Lovejoy
10. Peachtree Ridge


1.  Gainesville
2.  Northside-WR
3.  Thomas Co. Central
4.  Stephenson
5.  Flowery Branch
6.  Tucker
7.  Kell
8.  ML King
9.  Whitewater
10. Ware Co.


1.  Sandy Creek
2.  Burke Co.
3.  Carrollton
4.  Cairo
5.  Marist
6.  Griffin
7.  Statesboro
8.  Westside-Macon
9.  Stockbridge
10. Monroe Area


1.  Buford
2.  Peach Co.
3.  Thomson
4.  Carver-Columbus
5.  St. Pius X
6.  Cartersville
7.  North Hall
8.  Washington Co.
9.  Blessed Trinity
10. North Oconee


1.  Calhoun
2.  Brooks Co.
3.  GAC
4.  Fitzgerald
5.  Lamar Co.
6.  Jefferson
7.  Cook
8.  Washington-Wilkes
9.  Lovett
10. Vidalia

1.  ELCA
2.  George Walton Academy
3.  Prince Ave. Christian
4.  Savannah Christian
5.  Landmark Christian
6.  Brookstone
7.  First Presbyterian
8.  Darlington
9.  Athens Academy
10. Holy Innocents'


1.  Lincoln Co.
2.  Wilcox Co.
3.  Irwin Co.
4.  Wilkinson Co.
5.  Seminole Co.
6.  ECI
7.  Marion Co.
8.  Miller Co.
9.  Charlton Co.
10. Dooly Co.


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Monday, August 19, 2013

By Stephen Black

Cougars and Longhorns set for early another kickoff 



Bright and early on Aug. 24, two Class AAAAA programs will get the 2013 Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic started at 9 a.m.


Chattahoochee, under new head coach Mike Owens, will run a variety of formations and schemes this year on offense and defense. The Cougars will line up in the pro-style set, using both an empty backfield and with up to two backs. Defensively, Owens will have his unit line up in the 4-3 as well as the 3-5.


The Cougars' defense is led by junior linebacker Josh Weisburg. Taz Wilson will quarterback the offense and look for wide receiver Collin Lisa to make big plays.


Kell is a spread team that flourishes on slashing runs by backs and short passes that turn into big plays through the air. Defensively, the Longhorns have been consistently stout under coach Derek Cook. Quarterback Matthew McGuigan returns from a 2012 season in which Kell lost in the second round of the playoffs despite scoring 42 points on eventual state champ Gainesville.


McGuigan will try to find senior wideouts Darian Harris and Julian Burris. The offensive line is led by senior Donnell Greene. Defensively, the Horns will depend on safety Taylor Henkle to help fill the shoes of Brendan Langley and Quincy Mauger, who both signed with Georgia after last season


It is Kell's fourth straight appearance in the Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic and the second year in a row the Horns will face Chattahoochee in the event. Last year, Kell's defense held the Cougars to just one score in a 19-8 affair at the Dome. Kell had played Grayson the previous two years at the Classic, with each team winning one.


"The Hooch" is in its fourth Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic, but is still looking for its first win in the event. The 2010 Class AAAA state champions, however, have made the playoffs three straight years and have won region titles in two of the past three seasons.


Cook, a Marietta native who attended Etowah, has been at Kell since 2008, and the Longhorns have gone 45-14 with five consecutive state playoff appearances in that period. Kell has been playing football for 10 seasons, including this year. Cook also coached for South Cobb from 2006 to 2007 where he led the Eagles to the playoffs in his first season.


Chattahoochee took the next step in its football history on March 1 when it hired former Brookwood defensive coordinator Mike Owens to replace former head coach Terry Crowder, who is now at Creekview. Owens was head coach at Peachtree Ridge from 2003-2004 when he led the Lions in their first two varsity seasons. 


By Stephen Black

Cook not worried about filling holes in secondary



Kell had three football coaches in its first five years as a varsity program, according to But since 2008, the Longhorns have employed just one: Derek Cook. The University of Georgia graduate easily became Kell's most successful head coach and currently holds a 45-14 record at the northeast Cobb County high school.


Last season, Kell went undefeated in games against Class AAAAA foes until the playoffs when the Longhorns lost to eventual state champion Gainesville in the second round. The 61-42 final score is a bit misleading, as Kell led 35-21 at the half. While the Red Elephants and star quarterback Deshaun Watson are the favorites to repeat, Kell is focused on the business at hand.


"We're aware of Gainesville," said Cook. "We had a great game against them last year and we probably had that one in our hands and let go of it. Of course that's a great player over there (Watson), but that's so far down the road. ... We know they're there, but it's got to all line up perfectly for us to match up with them again at some point."


For now, Kell is looking forward to its game against Chattahoochee in the Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic. Cook's bunch defeated the Cougars last year in the event 19-8. While most high school football games generally start as the sun is setting, the Longhorns' game against Chattahoochee kicks off at 9 a.m. Cook has a plan for the odd start time.


"What we've been doing the last several Saturdays is bringing them in and practicing at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, so their bodies are not in shock and more importantly their minds," Cook explained earlier in August. "On gameday, they're going to be up at 5:30 a.m. eating breakfast, so it won't be an issue that day either."


One issue Kell does have is replacing defensive backs Brendan Langley and Quincy Mauger, each of whom also played on offense for the Longhorns. Cook is confident in their replacements. One of those is safety Taylor Henkle, a Kennesaw State commitment.


"The DBs are pretty well the same other than the names on the backs of their jerseys," said Cook. "The guys we have are not SEC-caliber (recruits), but they're great high school players."


Quarterback Matt McGuigan returns to lead the Longhorns' offense, which had a strong showing at the Georgia Invitational 7-on-7 tournament.


By Sean Conway

Potential high in Owens' first year 



First-year head coach Mike Owens will try to continue the winning tradition at Chattahoochee this fall. Owens replaces Terry Crowder who led the Cougars to five playoff appearances including a state championship in 2010.


The Cougars will start the season looking to win in their own backyard, Region 6-AAAAAA.


"Last year, Chattahoochee was just a few play away from competing for a region championship," said Owens in an exclusive interview with Score Atlanta. "There's always a real desire to beat those neighboring schools, and we got some high expectations."


The Cougars won four of their last five games in 2012 (all against region competition) to qualify for the playoffs, but in the opening round of the tournament, they fell to eventual state champion Norcross.


On the offensive side of the ball, the Cougars will give defenses a lot to think about. They'll line up with up to two running backs in the backfield with the possibility of none. In all, the offense returns five players. Owens will rely on the experience of his two senior wide receivers Collin Lisa and Avery Ward, who are both returning starters. Senior Chase Nelson returns for his third season as a starter at running back and will power the offense.


Taz Wilson, a senior, will get the nod at quarterback, but he's a first-year starter. Despite Wilson's lack of starting experience, Owen likes what he sees out of him.


"He's got the potential to really have a pretty special year for us."


The defense also returns five players and will play to the strengths of linebackers Nate Sherman, a junior, and Josh Weisberg, a sophomore. Several players will line up on both sides of the ball for Chattahoochee, most notably junior linemen Zach Kladis and Nick Williams.


Similar to the offense, the defense will use formations to confuse and frustrate their opponents. At times they'll line up in a traditional 4-3, but can and will morph into a 3-5 and beyond.


Chattahoochee faces a tough first game, playing Kell in the Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic, both named for the legendary Cobb County coach and administrator. Luckily, as a former assistant at Brookwood, Owens is quite used to the venue. He estimates that's been an assistant for all but four of the Kell Classics and wants to motivate his guys to play well.


"It's one of the premier events of its kind," said Owens. "There's probably not 10 events in the country that can compare to this one. To get his team ready for excitement and noise the Cougars are installing a hand-signal for their offense and defensive units."


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