2022 Week 0 (Georgia)

2022 Week 0 (Georgia)

For the second straight year, my football odyssey started in Georgia. Getting there, though, was a bit of an adventure. Traveling with my daughter, we had things planned out for some fun on the way. And then a minor oversight threw things for a loop. After getting 105.3 miles from home, I realized we needed to turn back as only her clothes were in truck.

We stopped in Greensburg when that was discovered. So, 105.3 miles home. Took a brief break. Checked that, for certain, everything was in the truck. And then headed out again. Instead of taking the Turnpike between Cranberry and Breezewood, I headed east on US422 to Ebensburg, through Altoona, Bedford, and to Breezewood. We got as far as Hagerstown for the first night. Far shorter than originally planned.

Tuesday was all about counties. In my quest to visit every county, I had successfully marked off 41 states as complete. And getting close to the 7 not named Alaska or Hawaii.

Virginia has 38 independent cities. These cities, per their state constitution, are not part of their counties. Which also means that the county seat can actually exist outside of the county. It also makes county counting a bit more tedious, though interesting, in the Old Dominion State.

Crossing over from Maryland, we stopped through Fairfax, Manassas Park, and Manassas. The last three independent cities on my list. All that remained were four counties in central Virginia: Orange, Powhatan, Cumberland, and Buckingham.

This completed one of the more difficult contiguous states without any island counties. Also put me in sights of another state. Just across the line on US501, is Person County.

Clinching two states on my map in just one day. However, this is the third time I’ve done that. On August 15, 2010, I clinched New Mexico and Colorado. And on June 19, 2011 I clinched both Washington and Oregon.

With that out of the way, we stopped in Roxboro at the Bojangles, and also for gas after seeing the price was only $3.359.

After that, it was a much faster pace through Greensboro and Charlotte into South Carolina. Spending the night in Gaffney, I had to pass on getting a photo of the water tower. Passing it late at night, and with construction and the delays in getting to Georgia, weren’t going to backtrack to get it. Though, my daughter that it was interesting.

We got to our hotel early and a promised stop at the pool. Before getting ready and heading 30 minutes down the road to Johns Creek for a Wednesday Night Doubleheader for the Corky Kell Classic.

#1 – Kell v. Cherokee Bluff

This was a pretty good start to the season. The overcast skies led to a cool, though clammy, evening. This would be my first game ever at Johns Creek. Kell would win, though the score would be interesting. Kell 38, Cherokee Bluff 28

#2 – Johns Creek v. Parkview

Just as the first game ended, the skies opened. Light at first, but it picked up. So, I mostly huddled under the stands. Johns Creek Stadium, aka the Coliseum, is situated with a large concession and restroom area behind the stands, covered by the press box.

When the rain did relent, since I didn’t take my rain gear expecting rain free night, I returned to the field and got to witness the tail end of a disasterous game for the hosts. Johns Creek would struggle the entire game, as Parkview racked up scores in a 52-7 victory.

After the game, being that it was already past midnight, we stopped at one of the few non-bars that were open: Waffle House.

Back to the hotel, and spent Thursday afternoon at the indoor pool. Went across the lot to Old Harbor Sea Food for a late lunch.

The food was surprisingly cheap for what you got. The sausage was a little bland. But the corn and potatoes made up for it.

Then, it was over to West Forsyth High School for the second day of the Corky Kell Classic.

#3 – North Atlanta v. North Forsyth

Forsyth County has eight high schools. As recently as 1989, they had one. The population of the county hovered between 10 and 12 thousand from 1880 through 1960. By 1990, the population had reached 44,083. And in 2020, the county saw 251,283 residents. Making it one of the fastest growing counties in the country.

This led to an increase in schools. Starting with South Forsyth in 1989, North Forsyth in 1994, West Forsyth in 2007, Lambert in 2009, Denmark in 2018, and East Forsyth in 2021. There also is a specialty high school, the Alliance Academy for Innovation.

This first game pitted North Forsyth against North Atlanta. And one of the better games of the weekend. North Forsyth held the lead throughout the game, 20-8 at one point. But, a 27-24 slim lead after a North Atlanta Warriors TD was for naught. A 4th down attempt was stopped and with just over a minute left, North Atlanta scored on an 8 yard TD pass. I missed the shot, even though the pass was coming right at me. North Atlanta 31, North Forsyth 27.

#4 – West Forsyth v. Archer

The nightcap was a game I took off. After being on the field for a few minutes, it was up in the stands with my daughter and watched as a fan. It was a sluggish, defensive effort by both sides. As West Forsyth slowly pulled away, 21-7.

The next day, I opted not to cover the three Corky Kell Classic games. They were over an hour away in Rome, Georgia. And with the long delays, the 830pm kickoff was probably not happening. And with a Saturday morning at the stadium, I wasn’t going to push it. Luckily, there was a game just a few minutes from the hotel. So, the afternoon was swimming and a walk over to the Korean Steakhouse, “Q Korean Steak House”.

It was worth the price but not for my daughter. She barely ate anything, and cost $11. The pork belly was, by far, the best meat option to try. The salad was also very good.

After that, it was back to the room and then getting ready for the night game.

#5 – Forsyth Central v. Chattahoochee

Forsyth Central is the first, and oldest, high school under the Forsyth County Schools. Dating back to 1955, it was originally Forsyth County until South Forsyth was started in 1989. Where it took on the same abbreviation of its former name. Their stadium, simply called Bulldog Stadium from what I could discern, was nicknamed The Crete for the entire concrete stands on what was once the home side. The visitor stands were replaced with all new aluminum bleachers and the home team relocated across the field. The visitor side is still the old concrete stands. It’s a beautiful venue just north of downtown Cumming.

This game was all about Jayce Todaro. To start the season, he sored four rushing touchdowns… in the first ten minutes of the game. One, Five, Sixty and Five yards long. The fastest I think I’ve ever seen anyone pull an Al Bundy (four touchdowns in one game). But it wasn’t over. Despite the 27-7 lead, Chattahoochee, effectionately nicknamed Hooch, stabilized their porous defense, and kept the game at least interesting at the break, 37-14. The third quarter was uncharacteristically scoreless. And the threatening rain had missed the town to the north. Though the humidity was high for such a cool August night in Georgia. In the fourth, the two traded touchdowns. Forsyth Central would win, 44-21.

After the game, it was a quick drive back to the hotel and to get ready for Saturday. In the morning, we ate at the hotel’s hot breakfast. No sausage this year, just bacon. Piles of bacon. And eggs. And waffles. The only issue was the small milk containers were mostly frozen solid.

It was supposed to be a 35min drive to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It took a bit longer. Mostly because I followed my route from last year to the Home Depot Backyard. It’s a grass lot directly north of the stadium, and puts you just a set of stairs away from the media entrance. However, that was closed this year for some reason. So, I followed the rest of traffic east and north along the far side of the stadium to what I found was the silver lot. It was the first lot I found. I spent the $20 and found a spot on the fourth level. Which is two down from the top. By this point, it was almost 10am. The elevator showed “MBS Bridge” as Level 3, however Level 3 was just for luxury suites, and had no general entrance. So, it was back up to Level 6, and walking the length of the Silver Lot, across the north side of the stadium to the northeast gate. However, media was still at the original location. The far northwest corner.

Now, I already had the Field Passes, but unlike last year, no check of names was conducted. Just a visual look of the passes for both myself and my daughter, and we were let in. Just a quick x-ray of my plastic bag of camera batteries, charger cords, etc. Which would be an issue shortly.

#6 – McEachern v. North Gwinnett

Once in the stadium, the media entrance puts you at field level. And I headed to the luxury suites behind the 50 yard line. Last year, this was the entrance to the field for photographers. By the time we walked back across half the length of the stadium, we were told we could only enter from the endzones. So, we continued onward and got onto the field just a few minutes into the game. An annoying delay but nothing like last year’s fun time.

Despite the issues, this was a fun first game of the day. I saw both last year. McEachern is pronounced “Mick-Each-Urn”, rather than “Mick-Eck-Urn”. There was a big man TD, as Kayden McDonald, a Clemson commit at lineman, was giving some carries and added a 1-yard TD run to the tally. North Gwinnett 32, McEachern 20.

My daughter was wanting me to stay with her on the sideline, as she sat along the outer perimeter on some benches that weren’t there last year. This meant I had about a 20 yard patch of sideline I could be at directly in front of her.

After the game, it was back to the truck. I had forgotten my power brick, and with no access to the suites behind the sidelines, under the scoreboard, I had to resort to making the long walk back. Which had some issues. The stadium expected the entire crowd leaving the first game to file through one single barred turnstile. One that required a full revolution before the next fan could exit. For well over a thousand fans. The crowd grew restless and I was part of that contingent. They finally found someone to unlock the large gates to let us all out in one quick rush of humanity.

#7 – Brookwood v. Norcross

We got back for this one but stuck to the stands for the first half. Getting some food from the Chik-Fil-A stand. Mercedes-Benz Stadium has unlimited drinks. A $2 charge for a regular drink, or $4 for the plastic souvenir cup. The cup itself is cheap, so I didn’t keep it. But you can keep refilling it again and again throughout the day. All for four dollars. So, I wanted to keep the solid plastic cup instead of the wax paper cup.

The game was a close one, and I was cheering for Norcross. Both them and Brookwood were new teams for me. With Norcross leading 24-21 at the end of 3, we were back down on the field to photograph the end of the game. Brookwood would take the lead late in the game, while Norcross would attack down the field and setup a shot at the endzone. Though an interception in the endzone would end it for Norcross, 28-24.

#8 – Walton v. Mill Creek

Now, this was a great game. The two teams would trade scores, and Mill Creek would lead, 24-20 at the break. And then Mill Creek’s Jacob Ulrich would attempt a 55 yard FG and come up short. And then attempt a 56 yard FG on another drive and it was good.

Tied 34-34 in the fourth, Jacob Ulrich would tack on another field goal, from 24 yards out, to take the lead. Walton would answer with a short TD run to go up 41-37. And then Mill Creek would go downfield at the end, connecting on a 21 yard pass for six with just 19 seconds left. Mill Creek would win, 44-41.

#9 – Marietta v. Grayson

I started this game on the sideline, to get a few good photos, and then retreat to the stands. Getting some pizza to eat (only $3 a slice, though incredibly dry and sauceless). We sat in the stands and watched as the game progress. Grayson would dominate a lower scoring game. Having a 15-0 lead at the half, and extending it on a TD and FG to 25-0 after 3. Before Marietta made it respectable, 32-12.

It was a fun weekend. But it wasn’t quite over. As soon as we got to the parking garage, the skies opened and it was a downpour on top of a thunderstorm. It made I-85 and I-75 a miserable slog through the rain. I couldn’t get over to the I-85 lanes even at 35mph, so continued on I-75 to the loop. Then followed to US19 to Cumming. We stopped at a Cookout for a milkshake and burger before arriving at the hotel.

We wanted to leave early, but weren’t even in the room until after 1am. And had to get everything situated for the ride home.

We left the hotel at 11am. And then made the long 700 mile drive home. Heading northwest route 396 toward Ball Ground, stopping at McDonalds, and following 515 to 136 to US411. Stopping for gas at the last cheap stop on the route home. Gas was only $3.199 at the Eton General Store. We headed northwest to Cleveland, Tennessee, and then it was all open roads. I-75 to Cincinnati. And I-71 through Columbus to I-76. Only a brief stop in Kentucky for Culver’s, and then gas at the Flying J truck stop in Sunbury, Ohio. Then a straight shot home from I-71 to I-76 to Youngstown. Arriving home shortly after midnight.


2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia

2022 HSF Wk 0 Georgia


For the weekend, it was 1,995 miles and gas only cost $164.07, averaging 41.23mpg. Food was 369.64 while game miscellaneous expenses were $37.32 and trip miscellaneous was $57.92. And the hotels cost a grand total of $599.93. The first two hotels on the trip south cost only $5.75 and $14.58. Thanks to some credits through Hotels.com. I’m still a gold member for the third year. Not much in the way of cost savings. The Holiday Inn Express in Cumming was $576.10 for four nights.

For Week 0, I added 8 new teams to my tally and 2 new stadiums. Cherokee Bluff, North Atlanta, North Forsyth, Forsyth Central, Chattahoochee, Brookwood, Norcross, and Grayson were the new schools. While Johns Creek and Forsyth Central were new stadiums.

2022 Statistics

9 Games
18 Teams
4 Stadiums
1 State

8 New Teams
2 New Stadiums

1,405 different teams
445 different stadiums

1,282 total games

For more, and larger, photos from this weekend, click HERE.

For photos from previous weeks and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/

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