Fulton County football teams won’t play out-of-state opponents in 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns, Fulton Schools director of athletics Steven Craft confirmed Monday.
“The district wants to do everything to ensure that our student-athletes are able to play a full schedule, and by making the decision now, it allows us to reschedule the majority of those games with in-state opponents and not have to worry about cancellations that are out of our control,’’ Craft said. “We’re being proactive instead of waiting to see what happens.’’
The decision by Fulton County Schools affects seven teams and 10 games but won’t necessarily leave the teams short-handed, as most will reschedule against each other.
Fulton schools Johns Creek, Milton, Westlake, Creekside and Hapeville Charter had out-of-state opponents on their schedules. North Forsyth and Holy Innocents’, though not Fulton schools, are affected because they were scheduled to play Florida teams at Milton in the annual Freedom Bowl in September.
Johns Creek was scheduled to play Travelers Rest of South Carolina at home Aug. 28 and Don Bosco Prep of New Jersey on the road Sept. 4. Don Bosco is a prominent national program near New York City.
Johns Creek coach Matt Helmerich said he hoped to reschedule the Don Bosco game for 2021.
‘’It’s already in the works,’’ Helmerich said. “They were on cusp of canceling anyway due to financial hardships up there. We’re disappointed, but we know the magnitude of what’s going on. We’ll get there next year.’’
Instead of playing Don Bosco this season, Johns Creek will play Milton.
The Sept. 3-5 Freedom Bowl, played annually at Milton, had four Georgia-vs.-Florida games that now can’t be played as scheduled, but the event could continue as an all-Georgia event.
The Cam Newton Classic, slated for Sept. 4 at Lakewood Stadium, also must reshuffle. Westlake was to play Vierra of Florida, and Hapeville Charter was to play Oceanside Collegiate of South Carolina. Both games are now off.
Rescheduled games have not been announced, but Craft indicated that Creekside and Westlake could make up their lost out-of-state games by playing each other, perhaps in the Newton Classic, while Hapeville Charter could play North Forsyth, perhaps in the Freedom Bowl.
Milton and Hapeville also are discussing a game. Milton was to travel to Washington, D.C., to play St. John’s on Sept. 12, then have a home game Sept. 18 against Life Christian Academy of Virginia.
There are about 90 interstate games scheduled involving Georgia teams even with those off the books.
Most involve bordering states, although Eagle’s Landing Christian and Prince Avenue Christian are playing teams from Texas. McEachern is scheduled to play at St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Sept. 25. One of the biggest interstate games has Hoover of Alabama against Lowndes on Aug. 22 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as part of the Corky Kell Classic.
Cam Newton Classic
Sept. 4 – Hapeville Charter vs. Oceanside Collegiate (S.C.)
Sept. 4 – Westlake vs. Vierra (Fla.)
Sept. 4 – Creekside vs. Inlet Grove (Fla.)
Sept. 4 – Milton vs. Western (Fla.)
Sept. 4 – Holy Innocents’ vs. Clearwater Academy (Fla.)
Sept. 4 – North Forsyth vs. Bishop Verot (Fla.)
Aug. 28 – Johns Creek vs. Travelers Rest (S.C.)
Sept. 4 – Johns Creek at Don Bosco Prep (N.J.)
Sept. 12 – Milton at St. John’s (D.C.)
Sept. 18 – Milton vs. Life Christian Academy (Va.)