There’s excitement in the air for those football fans who bleed red, real red - UGA red that is. The first University of Georgia football game of the - and the game ball is on its way.
In the tradition of an Olympic event, of sorts, the ball left from the Shepherd’s Center in Atlanta in a walking tour set to arrive at Sanford Stadium for the big game. The good news for UGA fans from the local area – it is scheduled to pass through Stone Mountain, Loganville, Snellville, Monroe, Oconee County and the streets of Athens en route to the big game.
"The Game Ball Relay is a great opportunity for the Bulldog Nation to connect with and celebrate the excitement of a new season of Georgia Football," Greg McGarity, directory of UGA Athletics, posted on Georgiadogs.com.
The relay began at 10 a.m. Friday with a launch party at the Shepherd’s Center The kickoff party was hosted by members of the 1980 National Championship Bulldogs team as a fundraiser for the Shepherd's Center. The ball will be carried by UGA Lettermen, who will stop along the route for some fraternizing with local fans. However, if you’re in the Loganville or Monroe area, you will have to be real night owls to get in on the fun.
According to The Walton Tribune, scheduled times it will pass through the local area have it leaving Enzo’s Pizza in Snellville for (Highway 78 and 81) by 11:46 p.m. Friday. It is scheduled to leave Kroger by 1:32 a.m. Saturday en route for Walmart in Monroe. It will leave there by 3:02 a.m., headed for the Walton C&D Landfill at 145 Highway 78, Monroe. It should get out of there by 4:44 a.m. and then leave on a 15.5 mile bike ride toward .
By 5:37 a.m., the ball will make its way to Sam's Club on Atlanta Highway, then to Panera Bread and on to Chick-fil-A at Beechwood, said John Jones of the Relay for Heroes. By 9 a.m., Mark Farriba, PACS head coach, will escort the ball through downtown Athens and across campus to the Butts-Mehre Athletic Complex for a pre-game tailgate. The final fan-led escort, the Red Zone March, will begin at 11:00 a.m. Dedicated members of the Bulldog Nation will march from Butts-Mehre to Sanford Stadium, where the game ball will arrive for 50-yard line delivery at approximately 12:20 p.m., according to a news release.
As well as an event to energize the Bulldog Nation, the event is also to support the Shepherd Center. Fans along the route will have the opportunity to donate and become a Red Zone Warrior.