Before their football teams collide on the turf of Barron Stadium in August, the teams involved in the opening night of the 2018 Corky Kell Classic had some business to attend to on Tuesday.
Rome is hosting the first two games of the traditional high school football kickoff series on Aug. 16 with Class 3A state champion Calhoun taking on Class 4A power Ridgeland at 5:30 p.m. followed by two-time Class 5A state champion Rome High matching up with 7A Marietta.
Coaches and administrators from all four schools signed the game contracts during a luncheon Tuesday at the Rome-Floyd Tennis Center, next door to Barron Stadium.
“We are extremely excited to be here in Northwest Georgia and more importantly, I’m excited about the quality of the teams that are playing,” said Dave Hunter, executive director of the Corky Kell Classic.
Rome High head football coach John Reid said he thinks the Wolves’ program and the community fit right in with the type of experience Hunter and McEachern athletic director Jim Dorsey envisioned when they began the Classic 26 years ago.
“The community has really been fired up about football the last couple of years,” Reid said. “You’re not going to get in the Corky Kell and get a mismatch. We’ll have to be prepared to face a tremendous team that can challenge for a state championship next year.”
Marietta went 8-5 last season, losing 51-41 in the quarterfinals to eventual state champion North Gwinnett.
Both city and Floyd County officials used the occasion to welcome the participants and let them know they want to make it a memorable experience.
“It is a huge thrill for the city and county to host this event,” Rome Mayor Jamie Doss told the group Tuesday alongside Floyd County Commission Chairwoman Rhonda Wallace.
The Classic continues with two games on Aug. 17 at Georgia State Stadium, formerly Turner Field, and five games on Aug. 18 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.