MACON, Ga. — For a seventh year high school football returns to Mercer University this Saturday in the annual Macon Touchdown Club Kickoff Classic.
And it's a couple of really fun matchups as well -- Northside taking on Jones County here at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and that’ll be followed by Mary Persons facing Northeast in the nightcap at 7:30.
All four teams represented at Monday afternoon’s kickoff press conference, and the hype is real.
This event always is exciting for a couple reasons -- one, high school football on a Saturday, which is always a little unique and two, by playing on college turf, the players on the field get one step closer to the goal of playing at the next level.
Case in point -- the Northeast Raiders, whose former teammate Travion Solomon is playing for the Mercer Bears this fall.
“The opportunity to play at Mercer, the college atmosphere, the college stadium, something a lot of these guys look forward to so we're just grateful for the opportunity to play,” head coach Jeremy Wiggins said.
Put all that hype aside, and every coach here today will tell you that it's just another season opener as teams like Jones County will have the first chance to see where they stand in 2022.
The Greyhounds lost quarterback John Alan Richter to the University of Toledo, but also retain some of the most highly recruited prospects in the state, like junior wide receiver Zion Ragins and senior running back Javious Bond.
“We're pretty much juniors and senior starting right now and that's a positive, so in the years past that's not been the case,” head coach Mike Chastain said. “Last year we started over ten 9th and 10th graders throughout the year, every night, so this year a bit different, a lot more experience, and excited about those guys being experienced.”