Cougars to tackle Kell in Georgia Dome opener

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Alarm clocks will be among the most vital pieces of equipment for the Chattahoochee Cougars, who open the 2012 football season Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

The Cougars will take on Kell High School, and kickoff is at 9 a.m. in the first of five games scheduled that day in the annual Corky Kell Classic.

All five games will be broadcast on Georgia Public Television.

“I think it will be a little bit different,” Chattahoochee coach Terry Crowder said. “We have to think about what we’re going to feed them before the game. But the kids have gotten up at 5:30 for practice. It won’t be that big an issue.”

The Cougars have started practices much earlier than 9 a.m., and will leave the school around 6:30 a.m. Saturday.

Both teams won games in the Class AAAA playoffs last season, winning their openers before losing in the second round.

The Cougars, who went 10-2 and tied for first place in 7-AAAA, have moved up to AAAAAA this season. Kell remains in the second highest classification after posting a 9-3 record, including a 7-0 season-opening loss in the Georgia Dome to eventual AAAAA state champion Grayson.

The Longhorns feature a strong defense led by a pair of secondary standouts who have committed to Georgia and South Carolina.

Crowder says the Kell offense should be “pretty explosive,” and with talent on both sides of the football, the Longhorns were ranked fourth in one pre-season Class AAAAA poll.

The Cougars have some talent on offense to combat Kell’s defense, including quarterback Travis Marshall, running backs Chase Nelson and C.J. Leggett and move-in wide receiver Collin Lisa.

Linebacker Brian Sykes keys the Chattahoochee defense, but Crowder will have to replace a number of starters in the secondary and at the other linebacker spots.

Chattahoochee battled perennial state power Tucker on even terms in their pre-season scrimmage game, and Crowder says he was “really pleased” with how his team matched up with the talented Tigers.

“We have to work on our tackling, but we hung in there really well with Tucker,” he said.

The Cougars’ home opener is Aug. 31 against Forest Park.

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