Photo by Heather Middleton
By Derrick Mahone
Its been 12 years, but Mount Zion will finally make a return trip to the Georgia Dome.
Three other teams from the Southern Crescent will be making their inaugural Dome appearance when they participate in the Great American Football Classic this season.
Mount Zion is the only team from the Southern Crescent to have played in the Georgia Dome. The Bulldogs defeated Marist 10-7 on a last second field goal in the Class AAA semifinals at the Dome.
Also playing in the two-day Classic will be Drew, Lovejoy and Morrow.
Drew will take on two-time defending state champion Sandy Creek in a Sept. 17 match up at 2 p.m. while Lovejoy and Morrow will play a Region 4-AAAA contest Sept. 16.
"This is a great opportunity for our kids," Drew coach Jarrett Laws said.
Every game will broadcasted live on iHigh.com, which has hosted similar events in Indianapolis and St. Louis.
Lovejoy's is coming off the Region 4-AAAA title will take on Morrow in a 5 p.m. game on Sept. 16 to kickoff the weekend activities.
"I'm real excited about being able to play in the Dome," said Lovejoy senior defensive back Rico McWilliams said. "You get a chance to play under the lights in that big arena. I've never had the opportunity to play there."
Like many other players, McWilliams has seen several games in the 71,000-seat downtown Atlanta facility.
"Playing in the Dome is good for high school football," said McWilliams, who has commited to play his college football at the University of South Carolina. "I'm definitely looking forward to the opportunity."
The Georgia Dome has become a regular host of high school football.
On Aug. 20, the annual Corky Kell Classic will begin the season with a four-game schedule with a Gwinnett against Cobb County format.
Homecoming games involving Atlanta Public Schools will take place on Oct. 23 with four games.
At the end of the season, the five state championship games will be at the Dome for the third straight season.