Camden-Grayson headlines Corky Kell Classic

No coaches poll has been released for Georgia high school football, but if happens, Camden County and Grayson will be getting at least one vote apiece.

They’re voting for each other.

Both are legitimate choices, but if there was any doubt in the minds of Camden County’s Jeff Herron or Grayson’s Mickey Conn, it was sealed when they found out they would play each other in the Corky Kell Classic, which takes place at the Georgia Dome on Saturday.

The game between No. 4 Camden County, the defending champion in Class AAAAA, and No. 2 Grayson, a semifinalist last season, is the headliner.

The other three games pit Starr’s Mill against Etowah (11:45 a.m.), Brookwood against McEachern (2:30 p.m.) and Norcross against Walton (8:30 p.m.)

The Camden-Grayson game, scheduled for 5:30 p.m., is one of the more highly anticipated games of the regular season.

“I would have to call them the favorite to win it all this year,” Herron said of Grayson. “They are very disciplined, extremely well-coached and have a lot of players back from a team that could have very easily been playing for it all last year. We know we will have our hands full with them.”

Herron sent two assistant coaches to watch Grayson’s spring scrimmage this year. It was a six-hour trip from the Georgia coast.

Grayson’s Mickey Conn thinks Camden is the more appropriate No. 1 team.

“He holds the title on that deal. We’ve got a lot of work to do before we get to that point. We still have to build a team and that chemistry. Right now I’d say Camden still holds the title, and until they get beat, they’re the team to beat.”

The No. 1 team in the AJC rankings is Lowndes, the team that Grayson defeated in the quarterfinals last year. It was a defining moment for a Gwinnett County school that started its program in 2000. Lowndes had been the defending champion and was ranked No. 1 at the time.

“It definitely got our name out there in the state,” Conn said. “We called it a statement game. It said a lot for those building a program from the ground up. We celebrated a decade of football. It’s quite a feat in a short period.”

Beating Camden would be another statement, even if Camden is not quite the same team as a year ago. Most starters graduated, but Camden is one of the elite programs in the state.

Grayson also lost a number of starters, but many of the stars are back. Running back Ean Pemberton rushed for 1,949 yards last season. On defense, tackle Shawn Green has committed to Georgia Tech, and end Joseph Champaign, another Division I-A recruit, led Gwinnett County in sacks last season. Safety Kori Gaines has committed to Brigham Young.

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