Alabama All-Stars Ignite in Fourth Quarter to Beat Mississippi 14-10 in 36th Classic Saturday
Mobile, AL – Alabama’s All-Stars struggled for three quarters, but got a spark from an unlikely source to pull out a 14-10 win over Mississippi in the 36th Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic played at Mobile’s Whitney Hancock Stadium Saturday.
The victory was the third in a row for Alabama and upped its control of the series to 25 wins and 11 losses in a classic that played its first game in 1988 at Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium with Alabama coming out on top in three overtimes.
Saturday, Mississippi, coached by Chris Cutcliff of Oxford, dominated on defense for most of the first three quarters. Mississippi was leading 10-7 midway through the fourth quarter and knocking on the end zone again when an unnecessary roughness penalty and ejection on a Mississippi offensive lineman put a spark in the hosts that could not be distinguished. Mississippi missed on a 38-yard field goal two plays later and Alabama, starting on its own 21-yard line with 3:55 remaining, drove 79 yards on eight plays in just 1:20 to seal the win.
Alabama, which split playing time between its two quarterbacks Christopher Vizzina of Briarwood Christian and Earl Woods of Hueytown, inserted both players on offense when they got the ball back for the winning drive. Woods caught a 19-yard pass on first down and anther for 6 yards to put Alabama near midfield at its 46.
Facing a fourth-and-4 play at the 46, Vizzina connected with Prattville receiver Kameran Shanks for 33 yards to the Mississippi 21, and three plays later fired a perfect pass in the end zone to 6-foot-5 receiver Davion Dozier for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:35 remaining. Hoover kicker Peyton Argent booted the extra point to put Alabama up 14-10. He followed with a kickoff that sailed into the end zone.
Mississippi, with one last chance, took over at its own 30-yard line and on first down, Mack Howard’s pass was intercepted and returned to the 33 yards by Pinson Valley defensive back T.J. Metcalf to the Mississippi 32-yard line. Alabama, who got a 27-yard run up the middle by Parker’s Khalifa Keith two plays later, ran the clock out with the ball inside the Mississippi 10-yard line.
Alabama’s defense did its part to keep Auburn High head coach Keith Etheredge’s squad close. Led by Thompson defensive end Peter Woods, who finished with eight tackles and seven tackles resulting in 38 yards in losses for Mississippi. He had two sacks that resulted in 26 negative yards. Woods was named Alabama’s MVP for his effort.
Bart Edmiston of Ocean Springs gave Mississippi the early lead in a mistake-plagued first quarter with a 35-yard field goal with 1:31 remaining in the period.
Alabama’s offense was corralled by the Mississippi defense in the first half. Alabama completed 4-of-5 passes for six yards, rushed for only 14 yards, and turned the ball over three times on a pair of interceptions and a fumble.
Alabama’s defense was almost as dominating thanks in big part to the pressure applied in the backfield by Woods. Mississippi had 64 yards passing yards on the day – 43 coming on a completion from quarterback Mack Howard of Oxford to Ridgland High receiver Ayden Williams in the second quarter to give the visitors a first down at the Alabama 32-yard line. Eufaula’s Younzae Pierre broke up one pass, Auburn linebacker Klark Cleveland, who managed five first-half tackles to lead the Alabama squad, had a tackle for a 2-yard loss. Facing fourth down and 12, Woods and Hewitt-Trussville’s Hunter Osborne sacked Howard on fourth down for a 3-yard loss.
Briarwood Christian quarterback Christopher Vizzina finished the game with 80 yards thought the air, connecting on 8-of-13 passes with a touchdown toss and an interception. Hueytown’s Earl Woods completed 3-of-6 passes for 58 yards while rushing for 63 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He also accounted for a pair of receptions for 25 yards.
Prattville’s Kameran Shanks lead the Alabama receiving corps with three grabs for 88 yards. Earl Woods 63 yards on the ground led the Alabama squad in rushing followed by Parker’s Khalifa Keith with 43 yards on 9 attempts.
Thompson’s Peter Woods lead the Alabama defense with 8 tackles and two sacks, Auburn High’s Clark Cleveland chipped in seven stops.