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Teams start playing for real

Morrow, ELCA open football season on Friday

Morrow coach Leroy Foster will lead his team into its season opener on Friday against Campbell High in Smyrna. (Special Photo: Jerry Jackson)

Morrow coach Leroy Foster will lead his team into its season opener on Friday against Campbell High in Smyrna. (Special Photo: Jerry Jackson)

It’s game week.

While the bulk of the season-openers are still a week away, a couple teams in the Southern Crescent will get an early jump on the competition.

But if you are looking to see a game, you will have to make some travel plans.

Morrow opens the season on Friday at Campbell High in Smyrna while defending Class A private school champion Eagle’s Landing Christian makes the trek to Sandersville for a game against Class AAA Washington County.

These will be rematches of last season’s opening matchups, which both teams lost. ELCA was defeated 24-19 at home by the fifth-ranked Golden Hawks. Last season, ELCA entered the season ranked No. 1 in the state by the Associated Press, which was the highest it has ever been ranked entering the season.

ELCA would rebound from the loss to win 14 straight games and claim the Class A private school title.

The Chargers enter the season with high expectations again this season, despite the graduation of several talented players.

“My philosophy has always been to schedule the toughest teams we can,” ELCA coach Jonathan Gess said. “We just want to get better each week.”

Morrow was defeated 35-6 in the coaching debut of Leroy Foster last season at Tara Stadium. The Mustangs finished the season with a 1-9 record, its 14th straight losing season.

Morrow hasn’t won a season opener since the start of the 2004 season when it defeated Forest Park 12-6 on Aug. 21 at Twelve Oaks Stadium. The Mustangs would go on to a 1-9 season. Its last winning season was in 1998 when they finished 10-2 and reached the second round of the Class AAA playoffs.

Last weekend, the majority of the teams in the state participated in scrimmage games.

However, Jonesboro and Riverdale will play their scrimmages this coming weekend. Jonesboro will travel to Orlando and take on Pottsville High of Pennsylvania on Thursday. The game will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which will also host a couple of regular season games this weekend as well.

This will be the second straight season that the Cardinals have traveled out of town for a scrimmage game. Last season, the Cardinals played at Thomas County Central in Thomasville.

Riverdale first-year coach Terry Herrod will get his first look at his team against some opposition when it takes on Carver High of Atlanta in a scrimmage at Lakewood Stadium.

The marquee season opening games in the state will take place during the Corky Kell Classic on Saturday at the Georgia Dome. Several of the state’s top Class AAAAAA programs including Colquitt County and Camden County will take on teams from Gwinnett County. Games start at 9 a.m. and run through 8:30 p.m. that day.