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Though the high school football season hits its full stride Friday, Aug. 30, the previous Saturday will be discussed heavily for the next few months.
Two venues will host showcases on Aug. 24 that will be equally appealing to fans and recruiting services, with the typically impressive Corky Kell Classic lineup coinciding with a doubleheader at Norcross that features a pair of Florida teams.
Only the Corky Kell opener --Chattahoochee vs. Kell at 9 a.m. -- doesn't feature a Gwinnett team. Peachtree Ridge faces Walton at 11:45 a.m., Grayson takes on Colquitt County at 2:30 p.m., North Gwinnett plays Camden County at 5:30 p.m. and Brookwood faces McEachern in the nightcap at 8:30.
The five-game showcase, which began in 1992, is generally the only high school football show in town for the opening weekend, but that isn't the case this season.
Defending state champion Norcross hosts Florida state champion Booker T. Washington at 7 p.m. on Aug. 24 for the finale of a showcase that will be televised by ESPN. The opener at Norcross features South Gwinnett vs. Lincoln (Fla.) at 3:30 p.m.
"It's the first time we've played on ESPN and an out-of-state school," South Gwinnett head coach John Small said. "It's a great step for our program."
Those two showcases will get most of the attention, but they don't feature the first official Gwinnett high school football game of 2013. That will happen Friday, Aug. 23, when Greater Atlanta Christian plays an 8 p.m. vs. Stone Mountain at DeKalb County's Hallford Stadium.
The majority of Gwinnett's teams will start their seasons at the more traditional Friday night times on Aug. 30.
The intriguing matchups that evening includes a pair of rivalry games --Mill Creek at Dacula and Archer at Mountain View. There also are more Region 7-AAAAAA vs. 8-AAAAAA showdowns on Aug. 30, with Collins Hill at Central Gwinnett, North Gwinnett at Grayson, Parkview at Peachtree Ridge, Berkmar at Duluth and Meadowcreek at Shiloh.
Buford opens defense of its Class AAA state title at home on Aug. 30 with a game vs. Elbert County.
The state playoffs begin Nov. 15 this season, culminating with the state championship games at the Georgia Dome on Dec. 13 and 14.