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  Today, we preview the opening game of the 25th annual Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic between Mary Persons and Houston County.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Thursday, Aug. 18 @ Mercer University - Macon
5:30 p.m.: Houston County vs. Mary Persons
8:30 p.m.: Lee County vs. Jones County
Live on FOX Sports South and streaming on FOX Sports GO
Friday, Aug. 19 @ McEachern High School
5:30 p.m.: Buford vs. Roswell
8: 30 p.m.: South Forsyth vs. Hillgrove
Live on FOX Sports Southeast and streaming on FOX Sports GO
Saturday, Aug. 20 @ Georgia Dome
9 a.m.: Kell vs. Tucker
11:45 a.m.: North Gwinnett vs. Brookwood
2:45 p.m.: Walton vs. Norcross
5:45 p.m.: Colquitt County vs. Mill Creek
8:45 p.m.: McEachern vs. Archer
Live on FOX Sports Southeast and streaming on FOX Sports GO


Mary Persons to make Corky Kell debut
Mary Persons' 2015 season was one to remember from a record standpoint. The team finished with an 11-1 record under Coach Brian Nelson and entered the second round of the Class AAAA Playoffs before dropping to Marist, 45-21. Last season's team was led by a strong defensive unit that never allowed more than 21 points in a game and a rushing attack that finished with 2,289 yards total and 30 rushing touchdowns. The defense was able to create 11 interceptions over the course of the season and sacked the opposing quarterback 25 times.
On the offensive side of the ball, a trio of running backs powered the Bulldogs in 2015. Zach Harvey, Jaquavious Sims and Quen Wilson combined for over 2,000 rushing yards and 27 rushing touchdowns. Harvey led the group with 1,095 yards and 14 touchdowns. Sims finished second on the team with 799 yards rushing and nine touchdowns and Wilson contributed with 329 yards and four scores. Sims is the only running back that graduated in 2016 which means Harvey and Wilson will have plenty of carries to show off their talent this season.  
The rushing attack will be relied upon heavily this season after Mary Persons lost starting senior quarterback Jake Johnston. Johnston was able to throw for 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns despite playing in a run-heavy attack. The quarterback competition is unclear for 2016, but rising senior Caleb Speir should have the first shot at taking the job. Whoever the quarterback is, returning All-State Honorable Mention offensive lineman Caleb Etheridge will anchor a strong unit to protect the man under center.
The strength of Mary Persons' 2015 team, its stout defense, will return a wealth of talent for the 2016 season. At the head of this talented defense is rising senior defensive end Malik Herring. The 6-foot-3 260-pound Herring is currently rated as a 4-star defensive end by and is being recruited by a slew of schools including Alabama, USC, Tennessee, Clemson, Georgia and LSU. He earned offers after recording 74 total tackles, 21 tackles for a loss and seven sacks during his junior season.
Herring anchors the defense, but he is not the only star on that side of the ball. Tay Jarrell (83), Tre Howard (82), Vic Henderson (57) and Dan O'Neal (51) are also apart of a group of rising seniors that finished with more than 50 tackles each in 2015. Along with Herring, this group of defenders will make Mary Persons a top tier defense in AAAA football this season.


8/18 at Houston County (Mercer University)
8/26 at Jackson
9/02 Washington
9/09 Forest Park
9/16 at Peach County
9/30 Spalding
10/07 at Upson-Lee
10/21 at West Laurens
10/28 Perry
11/04 Howard


Fromm's Bears eye AAAAAA title run
In 2015, Houston County enjoyed their best season of the past 25 years after finishing with an 11-2 record. The Bears reached the third round of the Class AAAAA State Playoffs before Allatoona defeated them 59-47. This will be the fourth year coaching Houston County for Von Lassiter, who over the past three years holds an overall record of 28-9.
Senior quarterback Jake Fromm totaled 4,073 yards passing last season on 421 passing attempts with 36 total passing touchdowns. Fromm was also able to limit his interception total to seven.
Photo via 247sports
The 6-foot-2 220-pound quarterback parlayed his impressive year into Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year honors in 2015 and will look to repeat this year before he heads to play at the University of Georgia in 2017. Fromm will have plenty of talent to throw to as two of the top three receiving leaders from 2015 will return.
Fromm was not the only Houston County offensive player to receive accolades from the state of Georgia. The Georgia Sports Writers Association recognized Trey Hill (2nd Team), Amari Colbert (2nd Team), Jordan Strevig (Honorable Mention) and Darion Anderson (Honorable Mention) as a part of their AAAAA All-State football teams. Strevig and Anderson are the only two of the five recognized players that graduated in 2016. Anderson will be attending Georgia Southern this fall as a 4-star recruit.
Houston County's returning receiving duo of 6-foot-3 Amari Colbert and 6-foot-2 Eli Watson combined for 1,639 yards receiving and 17 receiving touchdowns. The duo also averaged over 20 yards per catch and hauled in 75 combined receptions. The two both have offers from several Division I schools and will look to lead what should be a very high-powered offense this season in Houston County.
Junior running back Javon West will be the primary tailback this season after having a solid sophomore year as a backup in 2015. The sophomore totaled 547 yards rushing and scored 11 touchdowns in the 2015 campaign. He also chipped in with 180 receiving yards in the pass game. His workload should increase from the limited 87 carries he received last year, as 2015 leading rusher Chris Brinson graduated this spring.  
The 2015 Houston County Bears defense was led by three seniors in Bennie Steadman, Myron Jacobs and Rontravious Byron. Each of the three seniors had over 50 total tackles, as Steadman led the charge with 95 total tackles. Linebacker Mack McCullough and defensive back Keshaun Johnson will be two of the top returning starters on the defensive side of the ball in 2016. Keshaun Johnson finished tied for first on the team last year with two interceptions. McCullough finished fourth on the team with 43 tackles.
The loss of several key players on the defensive side will more than likely take a toll on the team's defensive output. However, a potent offensive attack led by Jake Fromm and numerous returning skill players should lead Houston County deep into the playoffs once again.

8/18 Mary Persons (Mercer University)
8/26 at Peach County
9/02 Eagle's Landing
9/09 at Veterans (Freedom Field)
9/15 at Warner Robins (McConnell)
9/23 at Spalding (Griffin Memorial)
10/07 at Lee County
10/14 at Coffee
10/28 Northside-Warner Robins
11/04 Valdosta

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