Valdosta Daily Times

April 17, 2014

No Dome for Wildcats in Corky Kell Classic

Samuel D. Logan
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Valdosta High’s chance of playing in the Georgia Dome this year now depends on reaching the state championship game.

The Wildcats were slated to open their 2014 season against Brookwood in the Dome on Aug. 23 as part of the Corky Kell Classic. The event, which was expanded by two games to seven and an additional day has been rooted at the Dome.

However, a scheduling conflict with an Atlanta Falcons preseason game has sent the Classic to a new home – McEachern High School, also in Atlanta. McEachern was already set to host the first two games — North Paulding vs. Creekview and Archer vs. Sandy Creek — scheduled for Aug. 22.

“The Falcons have always had the right of first refusal,” Corky Kell executive director Dave Hunter told the Gwinnett Daily Post. “It was kind of the perfect storm. It’s never happened to us in 23 years. … We’re extremely disappointed not to be in the Dome, but we’re going to have a great event at McEachern.”

Valdosta High coach Rance Gillespie echoed those sentiments.

“The event will still be quality, and so will the teams,” Gillespie said. “We’re going to play great, against a great quality team and I think that’s all that matters.”

The classic will still be televised, giving the Wildcats a chance at recognition on a larger scale.

“While it would have been a great opportunity for our kids to play in the Dome, the game is still on TV and the kids will still get exposure, so that is a plus,” said Gillespie.

The Wildcats play the Broncos at 2:45 p.m. in the middle game of the five-game slate on Saturday. The day opens with Kell facing Carrollton at 8:45 a.m., followed by Mill Creek facing Region 1-AAAAAA’s Colquitt County at 11:45 a.m. Norcross and Tucker meet at 5:30 p.m. with North Gwinnett and McEachern concluding the event at 8:30 p.m.