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Cherokee receiver Pops Jameson breaks to the outside on a carry during a 2021 game against Creekview. Jameson, a rising junior, is one of the few returning players for a mostly rebuilt Warriors offense.

Cherokee, Creekview and River Ridge will take part in the annual Corky Kell 7-on-7 tournament Friday in north Fulton County.

Round-robin games will be held in various locations, with a single-elimination tournament scheduled to end the day.

Cherokee will play its games in Pod E at Blessed Trinity in Roswell, while Creekview will play in Pod C at Roswell High School. River Ridge will compete in Pod A at Alpharetta.

Top teams in each pod will advance to the bracketed tournament at Roswell Ares Park.

Quarterback play will be a key storyline to follow as the tournament progresses. All three Cherokee County teams participating have new signal-callers taking over.

For Cherokee, a large chunk of the offense has turned over, with top receivers Adarrius Harshaw and Caleb Richardson graduating. Rising sophomore Tanner Savasir will receive the bulk of the quarterback snaps following the graduation of AJ Swann.

“This is probably the most inexperienced team I have had, and I am just eager to go out and see them compete,” Cherokee coach Josh Shaw said. We are not where we need to be yet, but we are getting there every day. With this caliber of tournament this early, it will give us a chance to evaluate.”

The Warriors are also learning a new offensive system under offensive coordinator Kevin Burnette Jr., who came over from Kell. Shaw said Cherokee is still installing the new offensive game plan, but he sees some real talent among his inexperienced group.

“We are looking for (Savasir) to get reps and develop chemistry with his receivers, which are all new,” Shaw said. “The entire receiving corps is brand-new, minus Pops Jameson. We want to see him continue to grow.”

Creekview is in a similar position at quarterback, with rising sophomore Austin Guest taking over for Mason Hicks. Guest, however, got some experience last season and even played in the Grizzlies’ first-round playoff game against Carrollton.

Creekview coach Trevor Williams is looking for his players to compete in the 7-on-7 games and to see how his guys look in live action against other teams.

“It is nice to get out there and see other looks,” Williams said. “We are looking for guys to play extremely hard and to see how they respond to adversity. Especially defensively, it is hard not to give up points, so how those guys respond in the secondary is important.”

Creekview is in the same pod as such solid teams as Grayson, Roswell and North Forsyth, so the Grizzlies will get a test on where they stand heading into the late summer.

River Ridge is hoping to see its players execute and enjoy good competition in the 7-on-7 setting. Coach Michael Collins sees the games as an evaluation opportunity in live scenarios against unfamiliar competition.

“This is a good time to execute our coverages and our routes in the passing game,” Collins said. “I would like to see us be sharper than we were in the spring time. This is where we,, as coaches can continue to evaluate guys and make sure they are in the right spots.”

River Ridge lost its primary quarterback and running back from last season in Carson Lathem and Amehre Morrison, respectively.

Leading into the Corky Kell event, three players are competing for the quarterback job in Isaiah Coughlin, Ethan Spector and Wyatt McCarty.

At running back, the Knights plan to approach the 7-on-7 games with rising senior Daniel Fichtner taking a majority of the snaps, along with a committee approach behind.

Collins, who said he and his staff are trying to stockpile talent at multiple key positions this summer, said another benefit of the 7-on-7 tournament is that some of his younger players becoming accustomed to the speed of the game.

It will be beneficial, especially for the quarterbacks who are competing for the starting job and for developing receivers and members of the secondary.

“The thing about this tournament, and others like it, is that you will have opportunities to make some plays,” Collins said. “Some things will go very well for you, and there will be times when things do not go as planned. One thing I hope our guys get out of this is how to respond when those things happen.”


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