HATTIESBURG, MS – Alabama All-Star coaches cautioned this year’s all-stars prior to loading the bus in Montgomery for the trip Hattiesburg earlier this week about the speed of the game they were about to play.
After four solid practice sessions, Alabama All-Star head coach Ben Blackmon of Enterprise is impressed by his team … especially their speed.
The 40-member Alabama All-Star squad has worked hard all week preparing for Saturday’s
37th Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic, which be played at Carlisle Field/M.M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi at noon.
“This morning was good,” said Blackmon. “We had some nice weather, we got after it this morning and it has been beautiful. The kids are really bouncing around. This is their fourth practice, and the kids are showing a lot of energy.”
The key is to keep that energy focused on the job at hand, said Blackmon. Alabama’s All-Stars come in with a 25-11 edge in the series which was first played in Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium in 1988. Alabama also is riding a three-game winning streak with a 14-10 win over Mississippi at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile last year, a rare 20-0 shutout win in 2021 at Hattiesburg, and a 19-7 victory over Mississippi in the final game of the series played at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl in 2020.
Mississippi had won the three previous years – with two wins coming at Hattiesburg and one at Montgomery. This year’s game will be the game played in Mississippi. The first 31 games were played in Mobile (1988-2010) and at Cramton Bowl from 2011-2014. Mississippi hosted its first game of the series in 2015 and holds a 3-1 edge in their four home games. Alabama is 24-8 in games played in this state.
“We are now trying to focus on what we need to do on Saturday,” said Blackmon. “We’re pretty fast on defense. Our inside linebackers Bradley Shaw (Hoover), Tyler Hicks (Thompson) and Quinton Reese (Ramsay) are picking things up pretty well. And we are really long on the ends.”
The defensive ends include Kavion Henderson of Leeds, Jamison Curtis of Saraland, Cameron Pruitt of Theodore, and Jamari Payne of Loachapoka. B.B. Comer running back Kamore Harris is also strong inside linebacker who will likely play that position at the University of Memphis next year.
“The speed of the game is something that can catch these kids off guard because they don’t get a chance to see teams with this kind of speed across the board,” said Blackmon. “This week is more what they will face at the next level.”
Alabama’s secondary has given the offense plenty to ponder with the likes of Alabama-bound Dre Kirkpatrick of Gadsden City and Jaylen Mbakwe of Clay-Chalkville, Keion Dunlap of Enterprise, Jayden Lewis of Anniston, Travaris Banks of Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, Xavier Johnson of Muscle Shoals.
The Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic will be live streamed over the NFHS Network, shown over the AHSAA TV Network and broadcast live over the AHSAA Radio Network.
The Alabama and Mississippi teams will have one workout Friday and the parents/players banquet Friday night.
Cover Photo: Ramsay’s Quinton Reese (30) assesses a play at middle linebacker. (AHSAA PHOTO | David Holtsford)