The schedules are out for Georgia high school football's fall 2021 season. It's a slate that features important in- and out-of-state matchups, and puts some individuals on a big stage.
Here's an early look at some of the big matchups ahead this fall.
File photo by Cecil Copeland
Mercedes-Benz Stadium will once again serve as a host for the Corky Kell Classic.
The Corky Kell Classic is due to return to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta after a year away due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now in its 30th year, the kickoff event features 11 games across four days at five sites on opening weekend. The event culminates with five games at the home of the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday.
• North Gwinnett (Suwanee) heads to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Aug. 21 after going 9-4 a season ago to play host to Hoover (Ala.), the out-of-state power when went 11-2 last season and reached Alabama's 7A semifinals.
The out-of-state flavor continues in Week 2 with Brookwood paying a visit to American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.), the defending champion in Florida's 5A division, on Aug. 28. (Collins Hill will also travel to American Heritage, on Sept 3.)
Buford's tough early schedule will continue with out-of-state matchups against Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.) and Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood, Fla.). The game against Myers Park, a semifinalists in North Carolina's 4AA last year, is Sept. 10. The following week, they'll play Chaminade-Madonna, which was runner-up in Florida's 3A in 2020.
Five-star Michigan signee Caleb Houstan tipped in the game winner with 17 seconds left as top-ranked Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) survived an upset scare Friday by No. 2 AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) in the GEICO Nationals semifinals. The Eagles' 51-49 win sets up a championship showdown at noon (ET) Saturday against No. 3 Sunrise Christian Academy, which has beaten the No. 1 team in the MaxPrep Top 25 once this season.
Trailing 42-33 entering the fourth quarter, AZ Compass Prep responded with a 9-0 run to tie the game at 42 midway through the fourth quarter. The teams traded blows down the stretch before Creighton pledge Ryan Nembhard knocked down a 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock with 1:19 left to give the Eagles a 49-47 advantage.
MaxPreps National Player of the Year finalist TyTy Washington responded on the other end with a nice step-through layup to knot things up at 49. Houstan's game winning tip-in on the other end gave the Eagles the winning advantage, as Washington's last second 3-point attempt rimmed-out.
Jalen Duren, the No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2022, finished with a team-high 14 points and nine rebounds, while Nembhard added five points, nine assists and four rebounds for Montverde (23-1).
Photo by Pete Wright
Jalen Duren had a team-high 14 points for Monverde Acadmey.
Washington finished his impressive senior campaign with 15 points, five assists and four rebounds in the loss.
It was Montverde Academy's second win of the season over the 28-2 Dragons, who fell 76-65 in overtime on Jan. 28.
The Eagles seeks their fifth GEICO Nationals title in their first championship appearance since 2018. Montverde Academy leads the season series 2-1, beating the Buffaloes 61-57 three weeks ago.
GEICO Nationals championship
Friday's semifinal results
Montverde Academy 51, AZ Compass Prep 49
Sunrise Christian Academy 70, IMG Academy 63
Saturday, April 3 Game on ESPN Noon (ET) — No. 3 Sunrise Christian Academy vs. No. 1 Montverde Academy
Carmel (Ind.), North Allegheny (Wexford, Pa.) and Marist (Atlanta) head the list of MaxPreps Cup leaders by state, but due to COVID, it is an incomplete list this year.
A total of 12 states, along with the District of Columbia, had no high school sports at all this year or had a limited version of regular season play, abbreviated postseason play and no state finals during the fall and winter seasons. Those states include California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Washington. Some of those states have begun competition in the spring and may hold state competition by the end of the school year.
MaxPrep lists the top five teams from each of the other 38 states that held state championships, according to the MaxPreps Cup formula.
The MaxPreps Cup is an effort to rank the top high school athletic
programs in the country. Points are awarded for state championships,
state runner-up finishes and national rankings. Points are awarded based
on popularity of sport, based on participation numbers, the size of the
state, the size of schools in a playoff division and the number of
teams participating in that playoff division.
Photo by Robbie Rakestraw
Wakeland soccer has helped the school take the Lone State State lead in the MaxPreps Cup standings after the winter season.
About the MaxPreps/AVCA High School Player of the Week Program:
MaxPreps/AVCA High School Player of the Week Program is a partnership
between the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and CBS
MaxPreps, Inc. Each week MaxPreps and the AVCA recognize deserving
student-athletes at the high school level who have demonstrated
outstanding play on the court throughout the week of competition.
Coaches must submit statistics to MaxPreps in order for their athletes
to be considered for the program. To obtain your free access code to
MaxPreps.com call (800) 329-7324 x1 or email [email protected]
For more information on the AVCA, check out the AVCA website at www.avca.org
High school baseball and softball seasons have always had staggered start dates among the 50 states, but COVID-19 has made the differences even more pronounced.
States that have an early February start date, such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Texas, are business as usual and have already begun play. However, some states that normally get started in late March have postponed start dates until mid- to late-April. Maryland may have the most delayed start date as it won't start until April 29.
At least five states have yet to determine a start or finish date, including Hawaii and four other Northeastern states.
Following are the start and state tournament dates for baseball and softball in each state as released by the state associations.
Photo by Tommy Hays
IMG Academy and Marcus (Texas) battle over the weekend.