Tucker, GA — Tucker High School Tigers are prepping to play the Dacula High School Falcons in the 30th Corky Kell Classic, a four-day tournament between 22 high school football teams.
The tournament begins Aug. 17 with a luncheon at the Atlanta Marriott Northwest at Galleria, followed by four days of back-to-back games across metro Atlanta and Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The tournament is named for a Carlton “Corky” Kell, a beloved coach at Wheeler High School in Marietta. Kell created the first High School Football Classic in 1992. It was the first event played at the Georgia Dome.
Teams are chosen based on season records and top players. Score Atlanta organizers said they pick the most competitive teams from the metro area for a two-year contract. Each participating team sells between 1,000 and 3,000 tickets to the games, with some money coming back to support the team.
Tucker Tigers play at Dacula on Aug. 19 at 8:30 p.m. Tucker has sent numerous players to college teams and the NFL. The new head coach is James Thomson, who hails from Orlando, Fla. and spent time working for the NFL and coaching UCLA football.
The Tigers got a special visit from Super Bowl XLV champ James Jones in July when the former Greenbay Packer came to workout with the team.
Dacula is the Region 8 AAAAAA champion from 2016-2019, and boasts 15 region titles and 14 state quarterfinals titles. Dacula’s head coach, Casey Vogt, is also new this year. Coach Vogt came from Northside High School in Warner Robins, where he was the defensive coordinator.
The event culminates at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with four games on Aug. 21. Organizers said the game to watch that day is the Hoover High School Buccaneers from Hoover, Ala., who pulled out of the 2020 event due to COVID-19, playing North Gwinnett. Hoover is the first out-of-state team to participate in the Corky Kell Classic.
Founder of Score Atlanta I.J. Rosenberg said they hope to have more out-of-state competitors in the future.
Rosenberg said masks will be strongly recommended. Other COVID-19 protocols include hand sanitizing, deep cleaning locker rooms and keeping the sidelines free of people. He said last year the tournament was not played at Mercedes-Benz due to COVID-19, so teams are excited to get back on the field.
Asked about vaccines, Rosenberg said that’s a decision left up to the teams.
“We are not going to get involved in that. What teams do, the teams do. People have a lot of different feelings about it,” Rosenberg said.
All games will be televised on PeachtreeTV, CBS46.com and CBS46app.
Coach Carlton “Corky” Kell was a football and girls basketball coach at Wheeler High School in Marietta. Kell created the first High School Football Classic in 1992, the first event played at the Georgia Dome. Kell led the girls’ basketball team to state tournament every year for nine seasons. In football, Kell’s record was 69 wins, 22 losses, and 1 tie. Kell was named Who’s Who in National High School Athletics, the National Football Coach of the Year, NIAAA State Award of Merit, the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award and the Cobb County Citizen of the Year in 1973.
“Any event that lasts 30 years is something to be proud of. There are not many things out there that have been going on for 30 years. We feel good about it, especially with COVID, about getting things back to, well, I won’t say normal. I’d say semi-normal,” Rosenberg said.
The full schedule of the 30th Corky Kell Classic:
Wednesday, Aug. 18 at West Forsyth
5:30 p.m.: Cherokee vs. Mays
8:30 p.m.: West Forsyth vs. Carver-Atlanta
Thursday, Aug. 19 at Dacula
5:30 p.m.: Westlake vs. Archer
8:30 p.m.: Dacula vs. Tucker
Friday, Aug. 20 at Gainesville
5:30 p.m.: Gainesville vs. Johns Creek
Friday, Aug. 20 at North Cobb
8:30 p.m.: North Cobb vs. Buford
Saturday, Aug. 21 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
9:00 a.m.: McEachern vs. Kell
11:45 a.m.: Parkview vs. Mill Creek
2:45 p.m.: Lowndes vs. Walton
5:45 p.m.: North Gwinnett vs. Hoover (AL.)
8:45 p.m.: Brookwood vs. Collins Hill
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