The Roswell High School Hornets faced off with east Cobb’s Pope High School Greyhounds in an eating contest of epic proportions.
Their goal? Finish six pounds of burger, bacon, French fried onion straws, fried eggs, cheese and bun.
Radio personality and Roswell resident Kelly Stevens won this challenge the inaugural year.
Stevens, who has since become a contest judge and emcee, had it tough back then, because he had to go it alone.
Now, coaches and football players from area high schools band together for the challenge.
Each person in a two-member team has half of that six-pound burger to eat, and at the end of an hour, the school whose team has devoured the most gets $500 for their football program.
There is also a $100 prize for the individual contestant who has done the best job of putting it all away.
For the first 10 minutes, the teams attacked their task with vigor.
“It’s a good burger,” one young man mumbled, to general agreement as the contestants chomped into the thick, juicy meat and toppings.
“They actually really care about the flavor. That’s awesome,” remarked a Pope fan on the sidelines.
But one after the other, they hit the wall and the eating slowed to a glacial pace.
One Roswell player’s eyes were closed and an unhappy expression on his face as he leaned back in his chair, no doubt trying to pretend this was all a bad dream.
When the clock ran out, Pope had won both the team title and individual award.
Mike Kemper, a safety and son of Pope’s head coach Matt Kemper, ate almost his entire half of the monster burger.
He used a few tricks he said he learned watching world champion professional eater Joey Chestnut in action, such as bouncing up and down on his chair to hasten the flow of food through his system.
Roswell coach Zach Fields, who made a valiant stab at a few more bites before the clock ran out, was smiling as he left Lucky’s to go home.
“At first, the egg and the bacon grease made it all go down fine, but later on my body started to react,” he said. “But I think I’m going to be okay.”
The Burger Challenge was part of the 3rd anniversary celebration for Lucky’s. The Roswell eatery is on Alpharetta Street just north of Woodstock Road.