ATLANTA -- After hearing North Gwinnett head coach Bob Sphire pose a question to Colquitt County quarterback Cole Seagraves regarding his last-second touchdown pass in last year's playoff win over Camden County, Wildcats coach Jeff Herron couldn't help but feel a little picked on.
"I didn't know (this) was a Camden County roast," joked Herron as he addressed dozens of coaches, players, family, dignitaries and media gathered Wednesday at the Georgia Dome for the 2012 Corky Kell Classic media luncheon.
Judging from the number of good-natured quips, jibes, zingers and anecdotes sprinkled throughout comments by coach and player representatives from the 10 teams involved in Saturday's annual season-opening event, Wednesday's luncheon did have the feel of a cleaned-up celebrity roast.
Still, at least one of the players present would've preferred something a little more akin to an afternoon at an all-you-can-eat buffet, rather than a night at the Friars Club.
"I had a little piece of chicken. I thought it was going to be something a little bit more," quipped Brookwood's Shaun McGee, whose concern about the portion size of the meal served not being enough to fill up a 6-foot-3, 230-pound defensive end became somewhat of a running gag throughout the proceedings. "I guess I'll get something to eat on the way to practice."
After almost a month of preseason preparations, everybody involved in the combatants in the Corky Kell Classic's five games Saturday -- including Gwinnett teams Grayson, North, Peachtree Ridge and Brookwood -- are hungry to get the season started.
That includes Grayson defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, who sported a cast on his left hand to aid in the healing of an offseason injury to one of his fingers.
Grayson fans need not worry, however, as the nation's top-ranked senior intends to be cast-free and ready to lead the top-ranked Rams against McEachern in Saturday's second game of the day.
"I'm always ready," the 6-5, 280-pound Clemson-bound senior said. "McEachern's a good team and they have a good coaching staff, and we're ready to play."
Still, Wednesday get together was filled with light-hearted moments, from McGee's appetite to Herron's anecdote about the flight he and Camden quarterback Brice Ramsey made from southeast Georgia -- "I'll tell you how important he is. He flew first class and I sat in the back."
But when each team takes the field at the Georgia Dome on Saturday, it will be all business.
"We all know that what people think and all these (polls) ... don't mean a whole lot until you line up and start playing," said Grayson coach Mickey Conn, whose Rams were Class AAAAAA's top-ranked team in the Associated Press' preseason poll on the heels of their Class AAAAA state title last year. "A lot of that's based on what ... last year's team did. And while I'm very thankful people think of our team that way, it's not going to equate to wins and losses. We've got to go out and play the games."