Forsyth County will make its debut in the prestigious Corky Kell Classic, a weekend kickoff event featuring top football programs across the state, when South Forsyth faces off with Hillgrove at McEachern High School on Aug. 19., the Gwinnett Daily Post detailed in a report Wednesday.
The Corky Kell Classic, sponsored by MetroPCS, has traditionally held games at the Georgia Dome since its inception in 1992, but expanded into a three-day showcase that includes Thursday and Friday night games, as well as a full slate on Saturday. All nine games will be televised on Fox Sports Southeast and can be heard on air at 92.9 The Game FM.
South, which finished 11-2 in 2015 under head coach Jeff Arnette, is coming off its second region title and second state quarterfinal appearance since beginning play in 1989, and was a fourth-quarter collapse away from upsetting Colquitt County—a regular Corky Kell Classic participant—and advancing to the state semis.
Hillgrove, after reaching the state quarterfinals two years in a row, finished 6-5 with a tough schedule and fell to Camden County in the first round of the playoffs. The Hawks, coached by Phil Ironside (94-55 in 14 seasons), will also make their first appearance in the classic since opening just three miles from McEachern in 2006. Hillgrove’s only other game against a Forsyth team was a 40-28 loss to West Forsyth in the second round in 2011.
"Our kids, coaches and community are excited for this opportunity," Arnette said. "It's an honor to get an invite. It says a lot about what our seniors this year did the last three years in taking this program to a new level. It says a lot about how far we've come, and for the young kids it's an opportunity to take the torch and do something with it."
The Corky Kell Classic has traditionally taken the best top-classification teams from Cobb County, Gwinnett County and south Georgia, along with other top teams from lower classifications. The expansion to weekday games has opened the door for successful teams on the fringe to join the field.
McEachern’s Walter Cantrell Stadium seats over 12,500 patrons, making it the largest high school stadium in Georgia. South and Hillgrove will play following the 5:45 p.m. matchup between Buford and Roswell.
The classic also includes two games on Thursday, Aug. 18, at Mercer University—Houston County vs. Mary Persons and Lee County vs. Jones County. The Saturday games at the Georgia Dome will be: Kell vs. Tucker, North Gwinnett vs. Brookwood, Norcross vs. Walton, Mill Creek vs. Colquitt County and Archer vs. McEachern.