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Grayson, North up for challenge

Grayson head football coach Mickey Conn lined up nine of his 2010 football games very quickly, then had to wait for the last one.

The game in question was his opponent in North Gwinnett's annual football challenge, scheduled for Aug. 28 this season. Conn got confirmation of his foe -- perennial Mississippi power West Point -- on Tuesday, thus completing the final missing piece of the upcoming Gwinnett high school football schedule.

West Point is the defending Class AAAAA state champion (Mississippi has a six-class system). The doubleheader at North Gwinnett also will feature the host Bulldogs vs. Bob Jones (Ala.).

"I'm very excited about it," Conn said. "I'm looking forward to it. We're playing a scrimmage with North Gwinnett (on Aug. 14), too. We're excited. Any time you can get publicity for the kids it's a good thing."

The showcase is one of two events for Grayson, which also is returning to the Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome to play Kell. The other Corky Kell matchups are Brookwood-Walton, North Gwinnett-Lassiter and Peachtree Ridge-McEachern.

North also hosts another showcase game on Sept. 3, when California powerhouse Crenshaw, Calif., comes to Suwanee. The Cougars feature one of the state's most-hyped football standouts, De'Anthony "Black Mamba" Thomas. The inner city Los Angeles school has turned out its fair share of noteworthy athletes, in addition to being featured in movies "Boyz N The Hood" and "Love and Basketball."

Several other Gwinnett programs looked outside the county for tough, non-region matchups. The group includes South Gwinnett, which travels to Lowndes and hosts M.L. King the first two weeks.

Peachtree Ridge will play Roswell and Newnan, Parkview will host Stephenson, Collins Hill will face Roswell and M.L. King, and Norcross also will take on Roswell.

In the smaller classifications, Buford opens defense of its state championship at Gainesville, followed by a trip to Carver-Columbus. Buford, Greater Atlanta Christian and Wesleyan will each play a region play-in game for its 10th contest to determine state playoff berths.

Gwinnett's newest high school, Lanier, will open its inaugural football season at home Sept. 2 against the Mill Creek junior varsity. The Longhorns' first schedule features eight JV teams and one varsity game, Sept. 10 against Mountain View.