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PREP FOOTBALL: Rome selected to host Corky Kell Classic games

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Rome Soap Game

Fans watch the annual Rome Soap Game intra-sqaud scrimmage from the home stands of Barron Stadium, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. (Jeremy Stewart/

The 2018 Georgia high school football season will begin in Rome.

After a 26-year history as an institution that rings in the new season for high school players, coaches and fans, the MetroPCS Corky Kell Classic is adding Barron Stadium to its lineup of venues next season.

And the Rome High Wolves will be part of the opening night action.

The 2018 Corky Kell Classic will begin with a doubleheader at Barron Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 16, starting with a 5:30 p.m. game between Class 4A Ridgeland and Class 3A Calhoun. The evening concludes with the Class 5A Wolves taking on Class 7A Marietta.

“The city of Rome and Floyd County were very determined to bring the Corky Kell to their backyard and we are thrilled for this opportunity,” said Dave Hunter, the Executive Director of the Classic, in a release.

“The Corky Kell is one of the, if not the biggest and most competitive opening weeks of high school football in the country,” Rome head coach John Reid said in a statement. “This would never have been possible without the help of Rome City Schools and our tremendous support staff and fans.”

The kickoff extravaganza will continue Friday, Aug. 17, at Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta (formerly Turner Field) where Buford will play Tucker and Archer will take on Milton. The schedule wraps up the next day with five games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

All games will be televised by the WXIA network of stations on WATL, and the NFHS Network will provide the digital broadcast. Tickets will go on sale in the spring.

College football recruiting analyst and Floyd County native Rusty Mansell helped local officials get with Hunter and the representatives from the Corky Kell Classic.

“It really is impressive this event is coming to Floyd County; this is a game our entire town will support because of our love of high school football,” Mansell said. “So many programs fight to get in this because it is a premier event. Everyone knows what the Corky Kell is.”

Rome City Manager Sammy Rich and Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord said the community is ready to welcome teams and fans with open arms.

“Our identity as a sports tourism community strategically aligns with the Corky Kell and will provide Barron Stadium and the student-athletes great exposure as we kick off the Georgia High School Association’s 2018 season,” McCord said in a release.

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