The Corky Kell Classic moved its Sept. 4, Friday night games out of Rome after a health official in the area said he was concerned about the high rate of COVID-19 cases in his area.
The move will bring the total number of Corky games down from 11 to nine and originally-scheduled Saturday matchup between Walton and Kell at Mill Creek High School is being moved to Friday night at Walton at 8 p.m. Also, because Georgia has pushed back the start of its regular season two weeks while the state Alabama expects to start the season on time, Hoover (Ala.) can no longer play in the Classic. They have been replaced by Greater Atlanta Christian, who will play at Dacula High School Thursday night against Denmark in the first game of a doubleheader. Tucker moves from the first game to play Dacula in Friday’s nightcap. Archer, meanwhile, will move from Dacula to face off with Lowndes on Saturday at Mill Creek.
All of the games will be broadcasted either on CBS-46 and Peachtree TV.
The Rome games were expected to match up Carrollton and Cedartown and Rome and Rockmart but in a letter dated July 24 from Gary Voccio, the Northwest District Health Director for the Georgia Department of Health, to Rome City Superintendent Louis Byars, Voccio wrote: “… Covid 19 is currently widespread not only in our community, but also in both Carroll and Polk counties, home to the three visiting teams. Allowing players, coaches, cheerleaders, and others associated with the teams to congregate would create a high-risk event as would also allowing fans to gather in the stadium. Even if masks were worn and physical distancing was attempted, it would, in my opinion, put too many people at risk not only from our community but also from the other communities attending.’’
Read the LETTER from Northwest District Health Director for the Georgia Department of Health official Gary Voccio to Rome City Schools Superintendent Louis C. Byars.
Corky Kell executive director Dave Hunter spoke about the past success of holding the event in Rome and about the recent decision to move locations this year.
“First, due to the district health director and Rome City Schools’ superintendent opinions that there should be no football at Rome’s Barron Stadium or in Polk County, the Corky Kell Management team has decided to leave Rome this year,” said Hunter. “This has been some musical chairs, but we feel that under the circumstances we have a great line up and should have competitive games. With all of the changes at Rome and with Hoover, our teams have been more than cooperative. We are extremely excited about the 29th edition of the Corky Kell Classic.”
Corky Kell officials put together a very extensive safety plan for Barron Stadium which included everyone wearing masks as well as a social distance layout for both sides of the stadium. Hunter would not say whether the Classic will go back to Rome next season but does expect Hoover, who signed a two-year contract, to return.
“The Rome city officials have been more than gracious and helpful in our experience the last years,’’ said Hunter. “Hopefully, that might work out in the future … too many moving parts right now. We anticipate Hoover returning in 2021 and playing in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.’’
Two weeks ago because of the virus, the Classic had to move their five games on Saturday from Mercedes-Benz Stadium to Mill Creek High School. MBS officials said they expect to host the Classic for their 30th year next season.
2020 CORKY KELL CLASSIC SCHEDULE
Wednesday, Sept. 2 at WEST FORSYTH
5:30 p.m. Carver-Atlanta vs. Cherokee
8:30 p.m. West Forsyth vs. Mays
Thursday, Sept. 3 at DACULA
5:30 p.m. Denmark vs. Greater Atlanta Christian
8:30 p.m. Dacula vs. Tucker
Friday, Sept. 4 at WALTON
8 p.m. Walton vs. Kell
Saturday, Sept. 5 at MILL CREEK
10 a.m. Brookwood vs. Collins Hill
1 p.m. Mill Creek vs. Parkview
4:15 p.m. Lowndes vs. Archer
7:30 p.m. North Gwinnett vs. McEachern
HOME teams on left