It may not count toward making the playoffs later this year, but the Newnan football team couldn’t be in a bigger game to start the Chip Walker era.
For the second year in a row, the Cougars and the Carrollton Trojans will face each other in the season opener at the University of West Georgia Stadium on Aug. 17.
Walker was named the school’s new head football coach after Mike McDonald resigned at the end of last season.
The Thursday night non-region showdown pits two teams who play in different classifications, but have a rich history against each other.
Newnan leads the contest 14-12-1.
A year ago, a couple of costly turnovers in the red zone prevented the Cougars from possibly putting the ball in the end zone and helped Carrollton win the football game 16-6. The victory was the start of a successful season for the Trojans, who ended up finishing with an 11-2 record and a trip to the playoffs.
Newnan finished with a disappointing 3-7 record.
After a coaching search that generated plenty of interest, the Cougars landed Walker from Sandy Creek. Walker comes to Newnan with a 127-26-1 including three state titles while at Sandy Creek.
Carrollton is coached by Sean Calhoun, who made his head coaching debut last year with the Trojans.
Walker said win or lose, there is a huge upside to opening the season against a quality opponent. Monday, the two coaches met at West Georgia to discuss the upcoming game.
“With a game like this, it’s going to give us a huge opportunity to look at where we are,” Walker said. “It won’t count toward the region, but it will be probably the best test for us to see what we need to work on over the next month or so before we reach the region.”
Walker also said playing a game like this is huge for Coweta County.
“From a community standpoint, I think getting the chance to play in this game against Carrollton is huge for our town and that’s why we are really excited about it,” Walker said. “We hope all the excitement spills over and we pack our side of the stadium.”
Calhoun said the game is also big in his community’s eyes.
“It’s great for the kids. It’s great for the community. West Georgia has done a great job with this facility. It’s a beautiful college stadium, and it’s a chance for both teams to play in a college stadium because not every kid will get a chance to do that,” Calhoun said.
Kickoff for the contest is 7 p.m.