Two years before Kennesaw State’s new football program kicks off, Kennesaw Mountain and North Cobb will play the first football game inside the Owls’ Fifth Third Bank Stadium on Sept. 20.
Both programs hope it won’t be the last.
“The goal for all parties is for this to be an annual affair,” North Cobb athletic director Bucky Horton said.
North Cobb holds a 9-2 lead in the all-time series with Kennesaw Mountain, including wins in each of the last four. In fact, the only two times the Mustangs have won were at the Warriors’ Emory Sewell Stadium.
Because of that, the change of venue may actually work in Kennesaw Mountain’s favor, but it was still a small disappointment to Mustangs coach Andy Scott, whose team was in line to host North Cobb this season.
“I was hoping it would be next year,” Scott said about playing at KSU, “but we are pretty excited about it. The team was really excited when we told them (about the game).”
Tickets are expected to go on sale soon. Each school will be given an allotment of 1,500 to sell at their respective campuses, and other seats will be available at the Kennesaw State box offices — at the stadium or the university’s bookstore — or online at www.ticketalternative.com. Tickets are $7 if purchased in advance, or $10 on game day.
All seats will be general admission, with the exception of one reserved section for Kennesaw Mountain season-ticket holders, with the Mustangs serving as the designated home team.
Horton said the idea of moving the Civil War Classic to Kennesaw State was developed by Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews. With college football soon coming to the university’s campus, Mathews thought it would be a good way to help get people ready for the Owls.
“It’s a great way to introduce football to the stadium,” Mathews said. “We’ve had a big rivalry between Kennesaw Mountain and North Cobb, and we all came together so both schools could benefit from the game.”
While the players and coaches on the Mustangs’ and Warriors’ sidelines will be able to say they were part of the first game played in the 8,300-seat venue, the contest is just as important — if not more — to Kennesaw State.
“We’re going to see what football feels like at KSU,” said Marty Elliott, the executive director of the KSU Sports and Recreation Park, of which the stadium is a part of. “It’s an opportunity to pull together our staff. We’ll get to use this to go through game-day logistics, and we’ll be able to see traffic patterns.”
While the dry run will be invaluable for Kennesaw State, Elliott said it was also a way for the university to be a good neighbor.
“It was easy for us to begin the conversation (on this game),” she said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun for the community.”