Posted: 7:01 pm Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Corky Kell loses spot in Georgia Dome, moves to McEachern; new matchups for Colquitt County, North Gwinnett, McEachern, Mill Creek 

By Todd Holcomb

The Corky Kell Classic, the annual day of games that symbolize the kick off of Georgia’s high school football season, won’t be played at the Georgia Dome this year because of a rare conflict with a Falcons preseason game.

The five games scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 23, will be played at McEachern’s Cantrell Stadium, which holds 13,000. The Kell Classic had been expanded by two games that already were planned at McEachern on the Friday night before.

The change also entails different opening-game opponents for Colquitt County, Mill Creek, North Gwinnett and McEachern. Colquitt now will play Mill Creek instead of North Gwinnett, and McEachern now will play North Gwinnett instead of Mill Creek. (See schedule below.)

The Falcons have first choice on the Dome if they have a preseason game scheduled for the same date. The Falcons typically play on a Friday or even a Thursday to avoid that conflict, and that was the original plan this season.

But the Falcons’ opponent for the week before, the Texans, decided to move their game in Houston to Saturday, Aug. 16. The Falcons use their third preseason game as a dress rehearsal for the regular season and want the full seven days to prepare, which  forced them to take the Aug. 23 slot to meet the Tennessee Titans.

Kell Classic co-founder and organizer Jimmy Dorsey said that is the first conflict of its kind since the Kell Classic was first played at the Dome in 1992.

‘’The Falcons have always been so gracious to avoid Saturday,’’ Dorsey said. “There’s no NFL coach more sensitive to high school football than Mike Smith, but we understand his dilemma. It was a conundrum for everybody and no good way out.’’

The Kell Classic has been played outside the Georgia Dome twice before.

In 1995, a tropical storm caused roof damage two days before the three scheduled games. They were moved to McEachern. In 1997, McEachern and Brookwood staged two games apiece when the Dome suffered fire damage to some suites.

‘’Fortunately, we’ve got a place like McEachern to host it,’’ said Dorsey, McEachern’s athletics director. ‘’It won’t be 73 degrees and no chance of rain. That’s the biggest difference. Our biggest thing will be constant coming and going of fans and buses. We’ll work hard and get that organized. We’ll be fine.

According to Dorsey, attendance for the Kell Classic is typically between 25,000 and 30,000 with no more than 10,000 for any one game.

Original schedule:

Aug. 22

5:30 p.m. – Creekview vs. North Paulding

8:30 p.m. – Sandy Creek vs. Archer

Aug. 23

8:45 a.m. – Carrollton vs. Kell

11:45 a.m. – Mill Creek vs. Colquitt County (originally McEachern)

2:45 p.m. – Valdosta vs. Brookwood

5:45 p.m. – Tucker vs. Norcross (originally 8:45 p.m.)

8:45 p.m. – North Gwinnett vs. McEachern (originally Colquitt County at 5:45 p.m.)

11 comments
Sportsnutx2
Sportsnutx2

@ Oldmaninatlanta == We do.

@ Been there ==  Cost may be prohibitive. It would be nice though. I am sure it will become a consideration for the GHSA or individual schools. That is considering the current efforts being put forth towards safety.

Been there
Been there

SportsnutX2/cpc:

The temperatures will be hot but the turf field doesn’t have to be. I hear Shaw Sports has a product to coat the crumb rubber and sand infill that can lower field temperature up to 50 degrees in extreme heat if needed.

Been there
Been there

whut: McEachern has nicer facilities than Georgia Tech

cpc
cpc

Surelyyoujest you have my vote for 'Physiologist Of The Year'! Boo Hoo for you, you really showed your ignorance.

camden74
camden74

Camden has started and will be playing in it's own Classic. Return to THUNDER ALLEY!

whut
whut

What about hosting the event at Georgia Tech?  It is a downtown facility, close to the hotels that would host the teams and presents a "special" facility.  No offense to McEachern, but these young men play at a high school field every Friday night.

Sportsnutx2
Sportsnutx2

I feel for the players given that the heat may be terrible. The change in opponents is interesting. It think I like these better. No matter, I will be there. All these top 10 teams should make for a great day of football.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

OH, boo hoo for the kids that it's "not fair", cpc - what about the other 10,000 GA high school players who do not get to play in the dome?  Plus, this is a life lesson that you evidently failed to learn- LIFE IS NOT FAIR, and the sooner they learn that, the better prepared for life they will be!

cpc
cpc

Not fair to kids wanting to play in the dome, way to go falcons! Going to be HOT!!! Especially for Mill Creek/ Colquitt Co. and Valdosta/Brookwood, notice McEachern  moved their game to a cooler time