GHSA releases 2018 football schedule

Defending Class 7A champ North Gwinnett opens its season at the Kell Classic.

The GHSA released the 2018 football schedule on Tuesday, and the early season once again features numerous marquee matchups and showcases.

In its 27th season, the Corky Kell Classic will kick off the season with nine games at three venues. On Thursday, Aug. 16, the Classic will hold its first-ever games at Rome’s Barron Stadium starting at 5:30 p.m. with Ridgeland vs. Calhoun and Rome vs. Marietta. On Friday, the event moves to Georgia State Stadium for the second year for Buford vs. Tucker (5:30) and Archer vs. Milton. Then on Saturday, the Classic debuts at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with five heavyweight matchups, starting at 9 a.m.: Kell vs. East Coweta; Mill Creek vs. Walton; McEachern vs. Colquitt County; Brookwood vs. North Gwinnett; and Norcross vs. Mays.

It’s a Georgia-Florida showdown between state champions on Aug. 25 when Dr. Phillips of Orlando travels to Lee County for a Saturday day game that could be slated for national television. Both schools were first-time state champs last season, Lee County in Class 6A and Dr. Phillips in Class 8A, Florida’s largest division. Lee County head coach Dean Fabrizio was an assistant at Dr. Phillips in the 1990s. Grayson also hosts Tucker on Friday, Aug. 24 in a clash between 7A-6A powers.

The inaugural Gwinnett vs. The World showcase takes place the third weekend of the season. Buford hosts a doubleheader on Friday, Aug. 31, that kicks off with Grayson vs. Bergen Catholic, a New Jersey powerhouse and defending state champ. Buford plays Deerfield Beach of Florida in the second game.

Two of the state’s historic rivalries—Northside-Warner Robins vs. Warner Robins and Lowndes vs. Valdosta—both will return to the middle of the season, when they have traditionally been held. For the past two seasons after the latest reclassification, they had been contested in the first week, which was unprecedented for both series.


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