Lawrenceville’s Coolray Field to host pair of Corky Kell Classic football games on baseball field

Players and coaches from both teams line up for the national anthem during Thursday night's season opener between the Gwinnett Stripers and the Rochester Red Wings at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville. (Photo: Karl L. Moore)

The Corky Kell Classic has been played in Gwinnett County before by necessity. This time, it will be held locally by design.

Event organizers plan to host the Friday night games of the annual high school football showcase this season at Lawrenceville’s Coolray Field, home of the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers baseball team. The first football games at the facility add to an increasingly more diverse lineup for Coolray, which also hosted Atlanta United 2’s 2018 soccer season.

Corky Kell officials will host a press conference Tuesday morning at Coolray to discuss details of the football games, which are scheduled for Friday, Aug. 23. Both games feature Gwinnett teams — Archer vs. Tucker at 5:30 p.m. and Buford vs. Milton at 8:30.

Georgia State’s stadium, formerly Turner Field, had hosted the Corky Kell’s Friday night games in recent seasons.

“Georgia State was a great partner for us,” Corky Kell executive director Dave Hunter said. “The whole thing was travel to downtown for 5:30 and 8:30 games on a Friday. Last year it took Archer almost two and a half hours to get down there (to Georgia State). We’re really excited about it because it’s in Gwinnett.”

The Corky Kell was played last in Gwinnett County in 1997, when a scheduling conflict at the Georgia Dome forced a move. The event was hosted at two high school sites, Brookwood and McEachern, that season.

The football field will run down Coolray’s left-field line, similar to the layout for Atlanta United 2 soccer games. There will be no bleachers in the outfield, but the capacity is expected to be 7,500 for football.

This year’s Corky Kell games also will be televised through a new TV partnership with CBS 46 Atlanta. All of the Thursday to Saturday games will be broadcast by CBS and its station, Peachtree TV.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium remains the host for the Saturday, Aug. 24 Corky Kell games this year. The matchups in Atlanta are Kell-Mays at 9 a.m., Norcross-Walton at noon, North Gwinnett-Colquitt County at 3 p.m., Brookwood-McEachern at 6 p.m. and Mill Creek-East Coweta at 9 p.m.

The Thursday, Aug. 22 Corky Kell games are hosted in Rome, with Ridgeland vs. Calhoun at 5:30 p.m. and Rome vs. Marietta at 8:30 p.m.

FOOTBALL

Schedule for the 2019 Corky Kell Classic:

Thursday, Aug. 22, Rome

5:30 p.m. — Ridgeland vs. Calhoun

8:30 p.m. — Rome vs. Marietta

Friday, Aug. 23, Coolray Field

5:30 p.m. — Archer vs. Tucker

8:30 p.m. — Buford vs. Milton

Saturday, Aug. 24, Mercedes-Benz Stadium

9 a.m. — Kell vs. Mays

Noon — Norcross vs. Walton

3 p.m. — North Gwinnett vs. Colquitt County

6 p.m. — Brookwood vs. McEachern

9 p.m. — Mill Creek vs. East Coweta

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Sports editor for the Gwinnett Daily Post. A Gwinnett native documenting Gwinnett County sports with the GDP since 1997.