Stars align for 25th annual Corky Kell Classic

The 25th edition of the Corky Kell Classic expands to a three-day event and kicks off in Macon for the first time as Middle Georgia powers collide at Mercer University on August 18.

Houston County meets Mary Persons at 5:45 P.M. The Bears boast senior gunslinger Jake Fromm (UGA) under center, the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s 2015 Class AAAAA Offensive Player of the Year. Fromm threw for 4,099 yards and 36 touchdowns last year, but the Mary Persons defense will be up to the task led by four-star senior defensive end Malik Herring.

The 8:30 P.M. timeslot at Five Star Stadium features burgeoning powerhouse Jones County and Lee County, who looks to rebound from a playoff-less 6-4 season. Senior quarterback Bradley Hunnicutt threw for 2,463 yards and 21 touchdowns, while tossing just three interceptions for Jones County. Senior Nick Singleton was his favorite target, catching 70 passes for 905 yards.  The Trojans will lean on a defense powered by TJ Harris and Tory Carter.

Meet Me At McEachern

On Friday, the actions shifts to McEachern’s Walter H. Cantrell Stadium, as state championship runner-ups Buford and Roswell do battle at 5:30 P.M. followed by Hillgrove vs. South Forsyth at 8:45.

Buford was denied a four-peat as state champions when Cartersville shut the Wolves out for the first time since 2010, 10-0, in the Class AAAA title game. Twenty-two seniors graduate from last year’s team but brothers Mic (East Carolina) and T.D. (Georgia Tech) Roof return for their final season. Juniors Christian Turner and Anthony Grant lead a dominant run game that averaged 254.1 yards per game.

Roswell, ranked No. 7 in the nation by MaxPreps, showcases Virginia Tech commit Malik Willis, who takes over the reins at quarterback after playing all over the field at Westlake the past two seasons. The defense stars a ballhawking secondary energized by Clemson commit LeAnthony Williams Jr., Xavier McKinney and Justus Harris.

Hillgrove turns to junior quarterback Hunter Arters on offense with senior linebacker Kelechi Kagha stabilizing the defense.

South Forsyth’s Davis Shanley enters his senior season with momentum, as the play caller threw for 2,342 yards and 25 touchdowns while amassing 623 yards rushing. Top tackler Max Slott, who tallied 117 tackles as a junior linebacker, returns as well.

Dome sweet Dome

The final edition of the Georgia Dome hosting the MetroPCS Corky Kell Classic begins at 9 A.M. with Kell facing Tucker. Samuel Bryant and Chris Broadwater are a lethal combination in the Tucker backfield. Tennessee commit Solon Page III powers the Kell defense after posting 110 tackles and 15 tackles for loss.

At 11:45 A.M., Brookwood and North Gwinnett kickoff their 2016 campaigns after both failed to reach the postseason. The Bulldogs should be much improved as junior quarterback Cade Fortin (Texas A&M) has emerged as a four-star prospect. Drew Jordan (Duke) and Dixon Yellot provide quarterback pressure along the defensive line.

Junior Angelo DiSpigna controls the action under center for Brookwood, while Leonard Warner, a four-star linebacker, is a playmaking heavy hitter that collected 110 tackles in 2015.

Quarterback Baron Radcliff headlines Norcross’ offensive attack as the Blue Devils meet upstart Walton at 2:45 P.M. after the Raiders improved from 2-8 to 9-2 behind star quarterback-wide receiver duo Addison Shoup and sophomore Dominick Blaylock.

Two heavyweight Class AAAAAA state playoff rematches put a capper on the Corky Kell Classic as Mill Creek seeks revenge against Colquitt County at 5:45 P.M. and McEachern clashes with Archer at 8:45 P.M.

The Packers ended the Hawks’ perfect season in the semifinals, 52-31. Jay Saunders slides in to lead Colquitt County at quarterback his senior season. Five-star linebacker JJ Peterson enters his junior season and will try to become a three-time state champion. Mill Creek pitched six shutouts last year but only two defensive  starters return headed by defensive back Jamar Hall.

Archer ended McEachern’s season 24-21 in the second round last year. Four-star quarterback Bailey Hockman (FSU) looks to rebound from a subpar junior season which saw him throw for 2,118 yards, 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Tigers plan to counter with junior Dillon Waye under center while Quinn Miller anchors a young defense at linebacker.

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