The new venue presents two special challenges.
One is transportation. With five games on Saturday starting at 8:45 a.m., there will be a revolving door of fan bases that won’t stop moving until the sun goes down. Attendance for the one-day event at the Georgia Dome typically reached 25,000 to 30,000. Event co-founder Dave Hunter said there will be satellite parking, shuttle buses and plenty of signage to help fans find their way.
The other challenge, the big one, according to Hunter, is the heat. The forecast for Friday and Saturday puts temperatures in the mid-90s. Games will be played around the clock on Saturday, so there’s no escaping it.
“All the coaches and myself are concerned about the heat,’’ Hunter said. “We’re taking proactive steps to help with that. We’re talking daily to players about hydrating. We’ll extend halftime or have more timeouts, if necessary. We’ll have cool mist on the sidelines. There will be cooling stations for fans, where they can lie down.’’
Hunter can’t be happier with the teams. The marquee games are probably Saturday’s final two — No. 1 McEachern vs. No. 4 North Gwinnett in a rematch from the 2013 Class AAAAAA semifinals and a rare meeting between No. 9 Norcross, the two-time defending AAAAAA champion, and No. 5 Tucker, the AAAAA runner-up that moved up in class this season.
The other games matching ranked teams are No. 2 Colquitt County vs. No. 6 Mill Creek, No. 5 Carrollton (AAAA) vs. No. 7 Kell (AAAAA) and No. 2 Sandy Creek (AAAA) vs. No. 3 Archer.
“I don’t know that we’ve ever had a better lineup,’’ Hunter said. “You don’t get to play in this game unless you’re established.’’
6 p.m. — North Paulding vs. Creekview
8:30 p.m. — Archer vs. Sandy Creek
9 a.m. — Carrollton vs. Kell
11:45 a.m. — Mill Creek vs. Colquitt County
2:45 p.m. — Brookwood vs. Valdosta
5:30 p.m. — Norcross vs. Tucker
8:45 p.m. — North Gwinnett vs. McEachern