Monday, April 06, 2020



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Mississippi Nips Alabama 17-16 in Overtime in 33rd Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic

     HATTIESBURG (MS) – Mississippi All-Star Armondous Cooley of Wayne County  blocked Alabama’s extra-point try in overtime to preserve a 17-16 come-from-behind Mississippi victory in the 33rd annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi campus Saturday.
     With the game tied at 10-10 at the end of regulation, Mississippi, coached by Brad Breland of Union, scored first in overtime. Janari Dean of South Panola grabbed an outlet pass from Will Rogers of Brandon and out-legged an Alabama defender to the left pylon to score the go-ahead TD. Place-kicker Gavin Gaudin kicked the extra point to give Mississippi the led  for the first time 17-10.
     Alabama quarterback Logan Smothers of Muscle Shoals connect fired a pass to  Thompson receiver Mike Pettway in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown to set up the final play.
     The extra-point try by Alabama place-kicker Evan McGuire, who had field goal blocked late in the fourth quarter, was deflected by Hopkins to keep Mississippi’s current three-game win streak alive. Mississippi is also still unbeaten in three games at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
     Alabama, coached by Spain Park’s Shawn Raney, holds a 22-11 edge in the series, which dates back to 1988.
     The overtime game was the first since Alabama’s two-overtime 24-17 win in 2010 at Mobile and was the fifth overtime contest in the series overall. Alabama was 4-0 in overtime games until Saturday’s setback – winning 24-21 in three overtimes in 1988, 24-21 in four overtimes in 1989 and 21-14 in one overtime in 1990.
    Alabama took the early lead marching 69 yards on 11 plays to take go up 7-0 in first possession of the game. Lanett’s Kristian Story had two strong runs and Thompson quarterback Sawyer Pate had completions of 42 yards to Eddie Williams of Central-Phenix City and 11 yards to story to set up St. Paul’s running back Jordon Ingram’s 2-yard TD run with 6:10 left in the opening period. Thompson’s Evan McGuire booted the extra point.
     Williams finished with six key receptions for 98 yards to earn MVP honors for Alabama. Mississippi MVP was George County defensive lineman McKinley Jackson.
     The Alabama and Mississippi defenses took control in the second quarter making first downs hard to come by. Late in the first half, however, Mississippi reached inside the Alabama 20 but was turned away when defensive tackles Daniel Foster-Allen of St. Paul’s and Decarius Hawthorne of Center Point sacked Mississippi quarterback Jimmy Holliday of Madison Central in the final minute to stop the hosts’ best scoring opportunity of the first half.
    Alabama’s offensive attack picked up steam in the third period, thanks to the strong running of Story and McGill-Toolen’s C.J. Evans and a big pass connection from Logan Smothers of Muscle Shoals  to Keyonteze Johnson of Pinson Valley set up McGuire’s 30-yard field goal to stretch the lead to 10-0 with 8:02 to play in the quarter.
   Mississippi drove inside the Alabama 5-yard line late in the third quarter, but Reeltown linebacker Eric Shaw sacked quarterback Jimmy Holiday of Madison Central on the last play of the quarter to stall the drive. Mississippi’s Gavin Gaudin of Northwest Rankin booted  31-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter to cut Alabama’s lead to 10-3.
    Mississippi got the ball back deep in Alabama territory a few minutes later, but the defense came up big once again when Pinson Valley defensive back intercepted a pass in the end zone for a touchback with just over eight minutes to go.
    That’s when the Alabama wide receiver Eddie Williams stepped to the forefront with two big catches to move the ball inside the Mississippi 10-yard line. The drive stalled, however, with two straight incomplete passes and a 25-yard field goal  try that was wide to the right with 6:14 to play.
    Mississippi tied the game at 10-10 late in the quarter on a 70-yard, 11-play drive that ended with Tupelo receiver Trip Wilson snaring 12-yard TD pass from Will Rogers of Brandon with 2:04 remaining and Gaudin’s extra point.
    Thompson’s Pate connected with Warriors teammate Mike Pettway on a 28-yard pass play that eventually led to a 25-yard field goal try by McGuire that was blocked Olive Branch defensive end Javon Banks to send the game into overtime.
    Alabama finished with 260 total yards with 40 yards rushing on 27 tries and 220 yards passing. Pate finished 7-of-13 for 127 yards and Smothers was 7-of-9 for 93 yards. Story was the leading rusher for Alabama with 37 yards on eight carries. Pettway caught two passes for 37 yards and a TD and Johnson caught three for 40 yards.
    Defensively, Alabama got an outstanding effort across the board with Xavier Morrow recording eight solos and one assist, Jackson Bratton of Muscle Shoals, five stops and two assists, and Daniel Foster-Allen of St. Paul’s Episcopal had six tackles total. Shaw had two sacks and three tackles overall.
    Mississippi had 177 total yards with 88 rushing and 123 passing. Dean was the leading rusher with 66 yards on 19 carries. Rogers was 10-of-16 passing for 66 yards and Jaden Walley of D ’Iberville was their leading receiver with four catches  for 27 yards.
    Jackson had three tackles for Mississippi. Emmanuel Forbes of Grenada led the hosts with eight stops and Cooley had four tackles.


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