Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic | Defense draws praise from head coach Steve Mask

Montgomery, AL – The seven members of the Alabama All-Star football squad’s secondary shined once again as the all-star coaching staff sent the 40-member team through two more spirited practices in anticipation for the 34th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic at Cramton Bowl. Kickoff will be Saturday, Dec. 12 at noon.

 The game, which has been played annually since 1988, is hosted by the AHSAA and its coaching wing, the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), in conjunction with the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC).

Connor Short | Hoover (Long Snapper)

“The secondary has stood out from day one,” said Alabama All-Stars head coach Steve Mask of St. Paul’s Episcopal. “No doubt this is one of the major strengths our team.”

Mask said Pinson Valley’s Ga’Quincy McKinstry and American Christian’s Kamari Lassiter are easy to spot on the field. “All our DBs are very skilled,” he added.

Rounding out the collection of defensive backs are Armani Diamond of Blount, Jordan Mosley of McGill-Toolen Catholic, Terrente Hinton of Saraland, Juwon Gaston of Carver-Montgomery and Noah Warren of Auburn. McKinstry will also see action at wide receiver, said Mask, “but he will be prominent in our secondary.”

Lee Hunter | Blount (DL)

Mask said the team’s cohesiveness has been one of the biggest positives this week. “They are coming together both on and off the field,” he said. “The offense and defense are having a better understanding of what they’re trying to do and they’re doing a great job. The defense is looking strong and is also coming along well.”

For the second straight day, Mask also heaped praise on his big, fast defensive line. Lee-Montgomery’s Anquin Barnes, a 6-foot-5, 316-pound defensive tackle who has already committed to Alabama, and Blount defensive  tackle Lee Hunter, a 6-4, 310-pound Auburn commitment.

Hewitt-Trussville running back Amoni Goodwin, who rushed for 1,424 yards and 18 touchdowns on 152 carries in 2020, has stood out from day one. He had 3,367 career rushing yards and 43 touchdowns on 416 carries in addition to 26 pass receptions in his prep career with the Huskies. The other running backs include Troy commits Peyton Higgins of Mars Hill Bible and Jarris Williams of Blount. South Alabama commit Jaylen Hughey of Cullman is a big, bruising fullback at 6-2, 225 lbs.

Ivan Shultz | St. Paul’s Episcopal (Center)

Alabama has struggled over the last few years in the All-Star Classic at center and long snapper. Hoover’s Carter Short, who also played running back for the Bucs, was picked for his long-snapping abilities. He plans to attend the University of Alabama.

“That was one area that was very important for us,” said Mask. “We have two players on the team that have a lot of center experience and we gave up a position player to get Short on this team.  He is outstanding.”

Centers include St. Paul’s Ivan Shultz and Bob Jones’ Andrew Lawson. Shultz is the son of former Alabama Crimson Tide standout center Roger Shultz.

Alabama, who owns a 22-11 edge in the series, lost last year’s game 17-16 in overtime at Hattiesburg.  It was the fifth game in the series to go into overtime but the first since 2010 when Alabama won 24-17 in two OTs. The first three games in the series (1988, 1989, 1990) all went into overtime with Alabama winning the first contest, a three overtime affair, 24-21.  Team Alabama won again the next year by the same score in four overtimes and came out on top 21-14 in 1990 in one overtime.  Mississippi’s OT win last year was its first in five tries.

Anquin Barnes | Lee-Montgomery (DL)

Tickets are $12.00 through GOFAN and are now available for purchase at the following link:

ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI GAME ON TV: In Alabama, viewers will be able to pick up the game live over the AHSAA TV Network of cable affiliates put together by WOTM TV. The game will also be live-streamed over the NFHS Network. The cable affiliate list is available at: 

The NFHS Network link for the contest is:

Mississippi plans to produce its own live-stream as well over its MAC Network.    

ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI GAME ON RADIO: The Alabama Radio Network will broadcast the game live over its group of affiliate as well. The broadcast can be accessed via the internet at the following link: