The North America’s Building Trades Unions Corky Kell Classic will play its nine-game lineup at nine separate locations over a four-day period (Sept. 2-5) in order to ensure that the celebrated kickoff event is in the best possible position to get the 2020 Georgia High School football season started.
“Our management group have met several times during this crisis and then we got some advice from the medical community in our state and we just felt like with their recommendation that we should not be playing multiple games at one site,” said Corky Kell executive director Dave Hunter. “The easy thing for us to do would have been to just cancel it, and people probably would have understood with everything going on, but we felt it was better to turn over every rock and try to make this happen. These kids have been working hard since June and they deserve something to look forward to. Now, our lineup of nine games will be at nine different sites over four days and every game will be televised. That is unheard of.”
The first three days of the classic will feature a 5:30 p.m. game that when it ends will be followed by a second game played at a different location. The fourth and final day will conclude with an 11 a.m. kickoff followed by two more games all at separate locations. Either CBS46 or Peachtree TV will televise all the games with a station schedule coming next week.
Before COVID, the four-day event was scheduled to take place at four locations—including Mercedes-Benz Stadium for a five-game Saturday marathon. After it was determined that Mercedes-Benz Stadium would not be able to host this year’s games, Saturday’s lineup was moved to Mill Creek High School. Shortly after this move, the staggered starting times between Alabama’s season and Georgia’s following the GHSA’s two-week delay forced Hoover out of this year’s lineup. Additionally, the double-header that was originally planned to take place at Rome’s Barron Stadium was cancelled after the advice of Public Health Officials in the area.
More disruptions have occurred in the following weeks with several districts across the state postponing their seasons. The Corky Kell Classic has been monitoring all of these developments and adapting in real time. At the same time, the 29-year event also recognizes the influence and historic role it has in kicking off the season.
“The most important thing has been the safety and well-being of our players and our fans,” said Hunter. “We needed to do everything within our power to make this work. We’ve had great cooperation from our schools and our sponsors.”
Added Score Atlanta president and Corky Kell partner I.J. Rosenberg, “Last Friday, it didn’t look good. But we got on the phone with our two other partners (Jimmy Dorsey and Beverly Postell) and decided we would try to work through it. We have done it in the past, when a tornado hit the Georgia Dome and another year when Mercedes-Benz Stadium wasn’t ready. We have a great television partner in CBS46 and there will be a lot of moving parts. But the GHSA has worked hard to put everyone in a situation where the football season has a chance to happen and Corky Kell has been the start of it for the last 28 years. So here we go.”
The latest changes to the schedule come less than three weeks from kickoff and after having to previously alter the format of the event multiple times over the past couple months, Corky Kell leadership is planning for any possible disruptions in the future. Fulton County and DeKalb County Schools have recently delayed their starting times and concerns within Atlanta Public Schools about their starting date—as programs like Mays have dealt recently with positive cases—have prompted Corky Kell leadership to prepare for possible contingencies. In the case that Atlanta Public Schools does decide to delay their season, for example, then Carver-Atlanta and Mays High School would be taken out of Wednesday’s lineup and Saturday’s final matchup of Denmark at Greater Atlanta Christian would move up to Wednesday’s 5:30 p.m. slot and Cherokee at West Forsyth would square off in the second game.
2020 CORKY KELL CLASSIC SCHEDULE
Wednesday, Sept. 2
5:30: Carver at Cherokee
10 minutes after first game finishes: Mays at West Forsyth
Thursday, Sept. 3
5:30 Brookwood at Dacula
10 minutes after first game finishes: McEachern at North Gwinnett
Friday, Sept. 4
5:30 Kell at Walton
10 minutes after first game finishes: Parkview at Mill Creek
Saturday, Sept. 5
11 a.m.: Carrollton at Collins Hill
10 minutes after game finishes: Lowndes at Archer
10 minutes after game finishes: Denmark at Greater Atlanta Christian