MONTGOMERY –Clay-Chalkville High School defensive lineman Jalen Harvey dropped out of the 27th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game Thursday.
However, it didn’t take long for All-Star head football coach Woodrow Lowe to find his replacement.
He turned to All-Star assistant Madison Academy Coach Eric Cohu, who led the Mustangs to a 15-0 record this season and back-to-back Class 3A state football championships the last two years. Cohu’s senior defensive tackle Frank Williams was quickly added to the team and arrived in time to go through practice at Stanhope Elmore High School Thursday afternoon.
“We hated to lose Harvey,” Lowe said. “He was banged up. However, Williams came in ready to play. He just walked off the playing field last week (following the Mustangs’ 31-14 win over Leeds in the Super 6 Class 3A finals at Bryant-Denny Stadium. “He really looked good out there (Thursday).’
Williams, 6-foot-2 and 251 pounds, recorded five tackles, had one sack and two tackles behind the line of scrimmage in the championship game.
“Frankly, I don’t know how we didn’t pick him to be on the team from the very start,” Lowe said. “He is a real plus.”
Mississippi lost two players to injuries as well, wide receiver Jamoral Graham of Newton County and 6-6, 312-pound offensive lineman D’Marcus Haralson of Class 5A state champion Picayune. Head coach Lance Pogue of South Panola replaced the pair with offensive lineman John Austin Cook of Grenada and receiver Javon Floyd of Gulfport.
Lowe continued to be impressed with the overall attitudes and athleticism of the Alabama team.
“We had a really good practice (Thursday morning),” Lowe said. “We have had to teach some terminology and get everyone on the same page. We beginning to come around.”
He and offensive coordinator Mark Freeman of Spanish Fort signaled out Murphy receiver Kameron Maye, who showed a lot talent and athleticism, they said. Lowe said he was also impressed with Wetumpka’s Christian Williams, a 6-foot, 305-pound offensive lineman who has already committed to Georgia Southern. Maye is still undecided.
Lowe said the restraints placed on the offense put a bigger responsibility on the offensive line and receiving corps.
Both teams enjoyed a low boil provided by the City of Millbrook at the Millbrook Community Center.
The teams will have one last practice Friday morning from 9 to 11 a.m. – Alabama at Faulkner University and Mississippi at Huntingdon. Both teams will compete in the Salvation Army Kettle Challenge Friday afternoon and then attend a banquet attended by the all-stars’ parents Friday night at Montgomery’s Trinity Presbyterian Church.
The players will return to Trinity Saturday morning for a breakfast hosted by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The teams will have a meet-the-players session at Cramton Bowl from 10 to 11 a.m., and kickoff is set for 12 noon Saturday.
Alabama holds a 19-7 edge in the series that began in 1988 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile. Alabama has won five in a row with Mississippi’s last win coming in 2007. Alabama won 21-16 last season.
WSFA TV (NBC 12) is the flagship station for Raycom’s live telecast shown over the network’s number of stations located in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the game over its network as well as through www.ahsaa.com.
The Raycom Network includes the following stations:
WAFF TV (Huntsville)
WALA TV (Mobile)
WBRC TV (Birmingham)
WDFX TV (Dothan)
WSFA TV (Montgomery)
WABG TV (Greenville)
WDAM TV (Hattiesburg)
WTOK TV (Meridian)
WLBT TV (Jackson)
WTVA TV (Tupelo)
WLOX TV (Biloxi)
WMC TV (Memphis)