With the hottest temps of summer hanging heavy on Rome, Ga., it is hard to imagine that high school football is just around the corner. As fans of the sport dream of cheering from the home stands in the cool fall weather, one community in Northwest Georgia is gearing up for some of the best competition of the 2022 season.
Rome High School’s varsity football team, led by head coach and system athletic director John Reid, has been hard at work in the weight room and on the field. Historic Barron Stadium will be where the Wolves face Creekside High School as the Corky Kell Classic returns for the third time to Rome, Ga.
A high-powered line up is scheduled for Aug. 19, 2022, that features three games. Starting at 2:30 p.m., Fellowship Christian will take on Mt. Pisgah followed by Cass High School and Kennesaw Mountain’s Mustangs kicking off at 5:30 p.m. Rome and Creekview will take the field at 8:30 to cap a night of the state’s best offerings of high school football.
“I think this is a wonderful event for our community,” said Reid when speaking about the impact of hosting the Corky Kell Classic. “But unlike many others that may be held in areas like the Mercedes Benz Dome in Atlanta, we take on a huge responsibility as we host this event. This year there are six teams who will play on our home field. The planning and preparation do take some effort, and we have Coach (Chris) Boden who helps us to manage events at Barron Stadium and serves as our equity in sports coordinator. So, it will take a lot of work on our part, but we are happy to do it.”
Reid said that the reason Rome is excited to host teams for the Corky Kell Classic is because he feels not only will football fans will see some of the best games in America, but it is a great way for his Wolves to kick off their season. “A lot of eyes are going to be on Rome’s stadium on Friday, August 19th because there are some really good games. The night will culminate with our game against Creekside—which I imagine both teams will be highly ranked—so we are expecting quite a game.
“Because this is like a home game for us, and played in our town, we have to get our tickets early because so many people will travel to watch great high school football,” Reid said when asked how those who wish to attend should buy tickets. “What people need to understand is Rome receives all proceeds from the ticket sales up until the day of the game. It is an investment to play in the Corky Kell Classic and our community can help us by investing in our program. There are many reasons to buy a ticket early and the first is because it is going to be a great night of football. Second, our traditional season tickets are not available for this game, so you are not guaranteed a seat. Like I said before, we are the third game. I think many people will stay on to watch the last game.”
Reid said that he advises all who wish to attend to buy tickets using this link: https://gofan.co/app/events/614029?schoolId=GA5278 and to do so before the ticket booth opens at the stadium.
In 2018, Rome took on Marietta High School along with a Ridgeland vs Calhoun matchup. Calhoun came away with the win by a score of 45-21, with Rome taking the game against Marietta in a nail biter, 51-41. In 2019, Rome fell to Marietta, 48-14 in the rematch played at Barron Stadium before the unsure climate created by the recent pandemic made it difficult to organize the game for the 2020 season.
Now, organizers with the Corky Kell Classic have come to the table again and agreed to play three marquee games at Historic Barron Stadium. Coach Reid is not only excited about watching his Wolves take one of the top-ranked teams in Georgia, but he is also thrilled about the impact this event will have on surrounding businesses and the Downtown Rome area.
“Since 2016, we have laid a great foundation for our athletic program,” Reid explained. “And for the first time in our school’s history we are set to host Georgia High Schools’ State Track Championship in May next year. So, we must continue to invest in our programs and in our community. Events like the Corky Kell Classic bring in so much exposure for our city and many people want to come here to host large events. It is vital that we support our school and our community by taking part in these opportunities. The icing on the cake is that we get to see some the most promising talent in our state.”
The Wolves are ready for the fight. Creekside has also won a state championship in the last decade, so both teams, according to Reid, will likely see successful seasons.
“Get those tickets early,” Reid said, “because it is a huge help to our program. All proceeds from ticket sales on the day of the game go to the Corky Kell Classic organization. Hosting this game is a huge financial obligation for us. We have to pay $8000 just to play in this game. So, we have a goal to sell 1000 tickets. Please help us to keep the seats full for a great night of football and support our programs and our kids.”