Football Fridays are back in Georgia this season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Although some schools opted out of the football season, the Corky Kell Classic which previews some of the best high school teams in Georgia starts Wednesday but will be played at nine different locations. For the Mays Raiders, they are still seeking their first win in the Classic and are the only Atlanta Public School (APS) to be invited to the jamboree. Since 2018, the Raiders have lost in the classic to Norcross and Kell by scores of 42-26 and 17-12. Both losses came while playing at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Since the Classic will be played at nine different locations this year because of Mercedes-Benz Stadium and others not hosting games this year, the Raiders will have to go on the road to Cumming to get their first win against a West Forsyth team.
They also will have to do this after their football team went under a full quarantine due to players testing positive. They were also one of the two APS schools to have a COVID-19 outbreak (Carver-Atlanta was the other one).
For eighth-year head coach Maliki Battle, he knows what is at stake and is excited to see how his team will perform.
“It’s going to be a real good measurement when we play against West Forsyth on Wednesday,” said Battle. By measurement, he is referring to new and fresh faces getting a lot of action Wednesday only returning four varsity starters after losing 17 to 19 starters to graduation.
As far as preparation for Wednesday’s game, Battle admits it has been tough to prepare for the Wolverines but is focused on his team controlling what they can control.
“We are talking about a team that has a new head coach, new offensive coordinator, didn’t play a spring game [or] fall scrimmage,” Battle said when referring to West Forsyth. “We have zero information on the team to scout them and be prepared to play. Now [we’re] in a situation where we have to work on perfect plays and execution so you can be successful in a game like the Corky Kell.”
Even though it’s tough to prepare for the Wolverines, Battle is still excited about the season opener and will have his guys ready.
“At the end of the day it’s football,” said Battle. “Football is football.”
Battle compared this matchup to summer FCA camps where players do not know much about their opponents until they match up and play.
“We play against opponents everyday that we [aren’t] accustomed to playing with throughout the year. You have zero time to prepare for them, [the] only thing you know is that particular day you’re playing against a team, and you get down and play football. That’s going to be the basis and aim going into this game.”
Make no mistake about it though, Battle is highly confident in his guys to play at a high level.
“When you start playing the game, it’s going to come down to your guys. You got guys on the field and they do everything you coach them to do, they’re going to be successful.”
Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. Wednesday at West Forsyth High School.