Mississippi takes down Alabama in All-Star Classic

Montgomery, AL – Mississippi’s prep All-Stars knocked off Alabama’s high school standouts 24-20 Monday night to notch their first win in games played at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.  

Alabama currently holds a 22-10 series advantage over their neighbors to the west despite dropping the last two contests.  Alabama held a 5-0 lead at games played in Montgomery before Monday night’s loss.  The Alabama squad is 0-2 in games played in Hattiesburg.  

Mississippi running back Jarod Conner of Hattiesburg High rushed 18 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns to lead the visitors to their first Cramton Bowl win. He moved from his running back position to quarterback in the second period and helped jump-start a sluggish offense that found its running game with the one-two punch of Conner and Tupelo’s Jaquerrious Williams.

Conner, who was selected by the media as the MVP for the Mississippi squad, scored the first two Mississippi touchdowns on runs of 2 and 6 yards and Williams finished with 94 yards on 20 carries and scored the final TD on a 13-yard run early in the fourth quarter. 

Alabama’s All-Stars, coached by Hoover’s Josh Niblett, moved the ball well on its first two possessions, but came away with only one score.  The first drive stalled inside the Mississippi 25 and a 41-yard field attempt by Hoover Buccaneer and Alabama Crimson Tide commit Will Reichard sailed wide right.   

The Alabama defense got the ball back near midfield when Jackson Aggies defensive back Nehemiah Pritchett intercepted Oak Grove (MS) quarterback John Rhys Plumlee’s pass on the next series returning it 36 yards to the Mississippi 49.   Pinson Valley Indians quarterback Bo Nix dazzled the fans with two pas connections with fellow Auburn University commit George Pickens of Hoover – the last one covering 13 yards for a touchdown to cap a 49-yard, six-play drive.  Reichard’s PAT made it 7-0 with 5:27 left in  the first quarter.  

Mississippi recovered a fumble near midfield with 6:05 left in the half and took advantage late in the second period climaxing an 11-play, 44-yard drive that followed with Conner’s 2-yard TD run with 1:19 left in the half. Tucker Barefoot of Clinton tied the game with his PAT kick.  Conner capped a 75-yard, nine-play drive to start the second half with a 6-yard TD run, and  Williams extended the lead to 21-7 early in the fourth quarter with a 13-yard TD run.  Central-Phenix City’s Peter Parrish, a LSU commit, culminated a 12-play, 75-yard march midway through the final period with a 3-yard TD pass to tight end Michael Vice to cut the lead to 21-14.  

Mississippi place-kicker Tucker Barefoot, who missed two field goals – dining both off the left upright, nailed  43-yarder with 35 seconds left to extend the lead to 24-14.

Alabama, however, wasn’t ready to walk off their home turf without a giving the fans some last second fireworks. Pickens made a spectacular grab in the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown from Nix on the final play – capping a 75-yard drive in the final 35 seconds to close the game at 24-20.  

Hoover’s Pickens earned MVP honors, for team Alabama, with nine catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns. The nine catches tied the Alabama-Mississippi series record for most catches in a game and the 155 yards set a new record.  

Mississippi finished with 257 yards rushing and 133 passing for 390 total yards.   Alabama managed only 57 yards on the ground but Parrish and Nix combined to complete 16-of-39 passes for 237 yards.   Nix was 9-of-22 for 162 yards and two TDs, Parrish connected on  7-of-17 for 75 yards and a score.   Tre Ross of Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa caught two passes for 33 yards, Lanett’s Trikweze Bridges had two catches for 10 yards and Jackson-Olin’s A.J. Toney hauled in  a 28-yard reception. 

Amontae Spivey of Central-Phenix City led all Alabama rushers with 29 yards on seven carries.  Oxford linebacker Kendall McCallum led Alabama’s defense with 10 tackles, Pritchett had nine and Fultondale’s Ja’Len Sims and Jackson-Olin’s LaVonta Bentley had eight each. Horn Lake’s Nakobe Dean had eight stops for Mississippi.

The Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic is sponsored by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and administered by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) in conjunction with the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC).  The Classic played its first 24 games, from 1988 to 2010 at Mobile’s Ladd-Peoples Stadium before moving to Troy University’s Memorial Stadium for a year.  The game moved north to a renovated Cramton Bowl in 2011 and began a rotation with the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg in 2015.