MAHONE: Sportsman paradise awaits

Derrick Mahone

Derrick Mahone

The press pass has been updated. Credentials from Atlanta Motor Speedway have been picked up. Batteries for the remote control have been changed.

Yep, this weekend is shaping up to be a sportsman’s paradise. It hardly seems like work. Shhh! Please don’t tell my boss that I’m enjoying this sportswriter’s gig.

Tonight marks the beginning of the football season for many high school team’s in the area. Last week, Morrow got an early start on the season with a trip to Campbell, but a full tilt of games are on hand tonight.

All three stadiums in Clayton County will be utilized tonight as the season starts.

And the first week has several rivals going against each other.

At Tara, Jonesboro takes on the team that Cardinals coach Tim Floyd refers to as, “the team around the corner.”

Southern Crescent Stadium will host North Clayton and Riverdale in a game that features new coaches on each sideline.

But the marquee matchup is probably at Twelve Oaks Stadium where Mundy’s Mill and Lovejoy engage in a non-region affair.

This game has several interesting twists as it will feature two of the top running backs in the state going up against each other. And there is a compelling story line by each.

Rodney Smith of Mundy’s Mill will be taking part in his first real game action since a season-ending knee injury in Game 9 of the 2012 season. He will get a test from a Lovejoy defense that has been one of the best in the state the last three years.

In turn, Smith will be the first test for a Lovejoy defense that has had to replace several standout players, and its defensive coordinator.

It is now Edgar Carson’s turn to run the Wildcats’ defense after serving as an assistant.

Just up the road in Hampton, on the Henry County side, thousands of race fans will be packed into Atlanta Motor Speedway to watch what should be an exciting race. AMS is the next to last stop before the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins.

Several drivers are hoping to position themselves into getting into the Chase, and AMS is one of the favorite stops on the NASCAR circuit.

Another hot ticket in town is at the Georgia Dome where two-time defending NCAA champion Alabama takes on ACC power Virginia Tech.

Georgia is in Death Valley to take on Clemson in a primetime televised game.

And for you armchair quarterbacks, Saturday’s TV schedule is lined with plenty of games.

From high schools to colleges to auto racing, this certainly is a sportsman’s paradise.

Derrick Mahone is the sports editor of the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at dmahone@news-daily.com. On Twitter? @DerrickMahone.