MONTGOMERY - Alabama’s All-Stars fought off a furious Mississippi comeback effort in the final quarter to claim a 21-16 victory in the 26th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football. Game Saturday at Cramton Bowl.
The last Alabama loss came in December of 2007.
This was the second year that Cramton Bowl and the Montgomery Lions Club have served as hosts for the game put on by the Alabama High School Athletic Association and its coaches arm, the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association.
With the victory, Alabama now holds a 19-7 edge in the series that dates back to 1988. The first 24 games were played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile.
Alabama took the lead in the second quarter after a scoreless first quarter when McGill-Toolen place-kicker Thomas Hamlin kicked three second-quarter field goals to tie the Alabama-Mississippi Game record. His first was a 30-yard field goal just 53 seconds into the quarter. He added a 35-yarder with 3:58 left and then boomed a 51-yarder with 1:01 remaining until intermission. The 51-yard kick was the second longest in Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game history.
Mississippi moved the ball well, but two turnovers, a fumble inside the Alabama 20 and an interception on the Alabama goal line thwarted two prime scoring opportunities. Jonathan Cook, a defensive back from Spanish Fort, returned the interception 57 yards before Mississippi quarterback Parker Adamson, the only player in close pursuit, pulled him down at the 43-yard line.
Alabama, head coached by Mountain Brook’s Chris Yeager, took command in the third quarter when Cedric Reed of Foley sped 30 yards for a touchdown at the 8:23 mark while the Alabama defense continued to stymie the Mississippi team coached by Eupora’s Junior Graham.
Early in the fourth period Alabama struck again with 10:54 left to build a 21-0 lead when Joshua Walker of Austin ran 9 yards off tackle for another touchdown.
Mississippi quarterback Parker Adamson of Oxford got his team back into the contest two plays later, however, with a 47-yard touchdown pass to Kameron Myers of Charleston to cap a 65-yard scoring drive. Five minutes later, Kamyron Melton of Dothan intercepted a Mississippi pass at the Alabama 2-yard line.
However, the defensive gem was quickly erased when defensive tackle Dylan Bradley of Noxubee County broke through the front line to tackle Walker in the end zone for a safety. Following the free kick by Alabama just 14 seconds later, Mississippi struck again when Eupora’s Derrick Jones caught a 41-yard scoring pass from quarterback Wes Windham of Ocean Springs to cut the lead to 21-16.
The Alabama defense held off the visitors the rest of the game to capture its seventh win in eight years and 13th in the last 15 years dating back to 1996.
Jason Smith was named the Alabama MVP. The McGill-Toolen quarterback, who turned wide receiver in this game, snared six receptions for 134 yards to tie the All-Star Game record for yard receiving set by Chalos Boner of Greenwood, MS, in 1989. He had two spectacular one-handed catches to keep scoring drives alive.
Mississippi’s 6-foot-6, 248-pound defensive end Chris Jones of Houston had eight tackles, including a sack, and three others for losses to earn MVP honors for his team.
Spain Park’s Nick Mullens and Carver-Montgomery’s Jeremy Johnson combined to pass for 231 yards. Mullens was 8-of-12 passing for 156 yards and Johnson was 4-of-10 for 75. Reed was the game’s leading rusher with 57 yards on nine carries. New Hope’s Johnathan Ford added 31 on 14 tries. Chris Quisenberry of Enterprise also had two catches for 30 yards and Nate Andrews of Fairhope had one for 34.
Northview’s Marquez White led the Alabama defense with six tackles. Melton finished with four stops, a fumble recovery and interception.
Leading Mississippi was Adamson, who was 12-of-21 passing for 117 yards. Windham was 5-of-9 for 70. Ashton Shumpert of Itawamba had 12 carries for just 14 yards and JaMarcus Rivies of Petal had an 18-yard gain in his only carry of the day. Myers’ five catches for 82 yards and Jones’ four for 55 yards led the Mississippi receiver corps
Alabama finished with 15 first downs, 87 yards rushing and 318 total yards. Mississippi had 16 first downs, 49 yards rushing and 192 passing for 241 yards. The big difference was three turnovers by Mississippi and only one by Alabama. Both teams were penalized at a record pace with Mississippi drawing 15 penaities for 115 yards and Alabama 14 for 127 yards.