For the first time in its 19-year history, the Corky Kell Classic will feature four Gwinnett high school football teams.
The eight participants for the 2010 and 2011 events at the Georgia Dome have been chosen, with newcomers North Gwinnett and Peachtree Ridge joining Brookwood and Grayson to give Gwinnett half of the field. The remaining four teams -- Kell, Lassiter, McEachern and Walton -- are from Cobb, giving the next two years a county vs. county feel.
The games are scheduled for Aug. 21, 2010.
"We thought about some other schools, but we thought Kell, Lassiter, Peachtree Ridge and North Gwinnett earned their way in," said event organizer Dave Hunter, who works with McEachern athletic director Jimmy Dorsey on choosing the participants. "And Grayson earned the right to stay in there. It's a Cobb and Gwinnett day the next two years. We're excited. We've got some great matchups. We've got some new blood with four new teams. And every team in there is quality. They're all playoff teams."
Grayson played in the previous two Corky Kell events, winning both times. The Rams will play the first game in 2010 against Kell, the showcase's namesake.
That game will be followed by regular participants Brookwood and Walton.
North will make its Corky Kell debut in the 5:30 p.m. game against fellow newcomer Lassiter. The Bulldogs still plan to host their annual football challenge following their game at the Dome, where they have only played once -- in the 2007 state semifinals.
"We're tickled to death," North head coach Bob Sphire said. "Obviously, playing in the Georgia Dome if you're a Georgia high school football player is like the mecca. Any time you play down there it's big. Having experienced that three years ago, I know the kids and the community will be very excited."
Peachtree Ridge will play its first Corky Kell game against McEachern, which has played in every one of them dating back to 1992. The Lions have played in the Dome before though -- in the 2006 state semifinals and the 2008 finals.