Jacksonville High School senior running back Rontarius Wiggins has been added to the 40-man Alabama All-Star roster for the upcoming 33rd annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic. Wiggins, who has 5,706 career rushing yards and 89 touchdowns in his four-year prep career at Jacksonville, is replacing Hueytown senior Roydell Williams, who will be unable play due to an injury.
Omari Porter, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior defensive back for Coach Adam Winegarden’s Auburn Tigers, has also been added to the team replacing Malachi Moore of Hewitt-Trussville, who has elected not to play in the game.
Wiggins, 6-0, 180 pounds, will be in action Friday morning at Jordan-Hare Stadium when Jacksonville takes on defending state champion UMS-Wright in the AHSAA Super 7 Class 4A State Championship game at 11 a.m.
He has 2,656 yards rushing and 46 touchdowns this season on 253 carries. He has had three games over 400 yards in his prep career. His career total of 5,706 rushing yards includes just two fumbles in 650 rush attempts for Coach Clint Smith’s Eagles. He has returned four kickoffs this season for 172 yards and one TD. Wiggins rushed for 2,379 yards and 34 TDs on 296 carries in 2018.
Porter helped Auburn reach the Class 7A state semifinals this season.
Alabama holds a 22-10 edge in the Alabama-Mississippi Classic heading into this year’s game which kicks off at noon on December 14 on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg. The game, managed by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSAA) and the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC), alternates between Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl and USM annually.
HATTIESBURG, MS – Alabama and Mississippi all-star squads went through two more practice sessions Thursday and one practice Friday morning as the high school seniors finalized preparations for Saturday’s 29th Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football game.
Kickoff is set for noon.
“We have had a great week,” said Alabama head coach Mark Freeman of Thompson High School.
Quarterbacks Tyler Johnston of Spanish Fort and Ty Pigrome of Clay-Chalkville will be leading the offense as Alabama strives to win its eighth straight game in the series and 22nd overall since its inception in 1988. The game, being played in Mississippi for the first time, will be played at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the campus the University of Southern Mississippi.
Alabama all-star fullback Jarrion Street of Hewitt-Trussville has committed to Ole Miss and running back La’Mical Perine of Theodore has committed to Florida. The Gators and Alabama each have three commitments on the squad. The Crimson Tide lists wide receiver T.J. Simmons of Clay-Chalkville, offensive lineman Deonte Brown of Austin and defensive lineman Quinnen Williams of Wenonah. The Gators also list Hoover defensive end Jeremiah Moon and Park Crossing defensive back Jeawon Taylor among their commitments.
Also selected to the Alabama All-Star squad are Auburn commitments John Broussard of Central-Phenix City and Marlon Davidson of Greenville. Broussard is a defensive back and Davidson is a defensive lineman.
Freeman’s assistant coaches include 2015 state championship coaches Brent Hubbert of Maplesville (1A), Keith Etheredge of Leeds (4A) and Steve Mask of St. Paul’s Episcopal (5A). All three coaches have directed their teams to back-to-back Super 7 state titles. Other members of the coaching staff are Jerry Hood of Clay-Chalkville (6A), Paul Benefield of Fyffe (2A), Eric Cohu of Madison Academy (3A), J.B. Wallace of Florence (6A) and Chris Yeager of Mountain Brook (7A). Hood, Benefield and Cohu directed teams to state titles in 2014. Hood and Benefield led Clay-Chalkville and Fyffe back to the finals this year.
Alabama’s All-Stars have won the last year’s game 36-31 on the last play of the game and holds a 21-7 edge in the 28-game series. The game was played at Mobile from 1988-2010 and at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl from 2011-14. It will return to Cramton Bowl in 2016. This will be the fourth year that Cramton Bowl has been the host site.
TV/RADIO INFORMATION: Raycom Media will broadcast the game live over its affiliates in Alabama and Mississippi Saturday and will also live-stream the game. The AHSAA Radio Network will broadcast the game live as well over its network. More information is available on line at www.AHSAA.com.
A banquet attended by players and parents is planned for tonight Thad Cochran Center at USM. A special Meet-and-Greet session on will be held at M.M. Roberts Stadium from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday preceded by a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Breakfast for players and coaches at the stadium at 8:30 a.m.
Accomplished author and former Erwin High School and Auburn University standout Dr. Rob Pate is Alabama’s honorary captain for Saturday’s 29th Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football game. Kickoff is set for a noon Saturday at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the University of Southern Mississippi campus in Hattiesburg.
Pate was a four-year starter at Birmingham’s Erwin High School in football, basketball and baseball where he earned All-State and Super All-State honors in football. An outstanding student, he was also named the Class 5A Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 1997.
Chosen to play in the Alabama Mississippi Game in 1997, he was named captain by his teammates and helped Alabama win 10-6.
He then attended Auburn University on football scholarship where he was four-year starter in the Tigers’ secondary. He earned All-Conference and was a two-time GTE Academic All-America All-District selection, a four-time SEC Honor Roll recipient, and the Pat Dye Leadership Award winner. Pate graduated from Auburn University in May 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in zoology and spent a year with the San Diego Chargers.
Injuries cut his NFL career short and he opted for medical school where he graduated from the UAB School of Optometry in May 2007 – earning Dean’s List every quarter in Optometry School. He currently practices in Auburn. He lives in Chelsea with his wife of 9 years, Dana, and their three daughters, Claire McKinley, Ellie Brooklyn, and Jenna Kathryn.
Very popular with Auburn fans, Dr. Pate has authored two books, including his latest, A Tiger’s Walk, which chronicles his battles with the highs and lows of championships and losing seasons, coaching hirings and firings, and personal success and tragedy – as well as giving poignant insights into the daily lives of college football players as they strive to also be college students.
He also authored Memoirs of an Auburn Football Player, which was published in 2004.
Dr. Rob Pate is a member of the American Optometric Association, the Alabama Optometric Association, served as president of the Birmingham Area Optometric Society in 2013, the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce and the Birmingham Auburn Club. He served as Alabama Special Olympics Opening Eyes Chairman in 2012. He earned induction into the Beta Sigma Kappa Optometric Honor Society, was named Southern Council of Optometrists’ Young Optometrist of the Year in 2015 and the American Optometric Association Young Optometrist of the Year in 2013.
Alabama holds a 21-7 edge in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star series including a current seven-game winning streak dating back to 2007. This marks the first year the game is being played outside Alabama. The Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) is hosting the event which has been a project of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association in conjunction with the AHSAA.
Pate will speak to the two teams Friday night in Hattiesburg at the annual Players & Parents banquet. He will also attend the game on Saturday and take part in the pre-game ceremonies.
2015 ALABAMA ALL-STAR ROSTER
J. B. Wallace
Mark Freeman, Thompson High School
Brent Hubbert, Maplesville High School
Jerry Hood, Clay-Chalkville High School
Paul Benefield, Fyffe High School
Eric Cohu, Madison Academy
J. B. Wallace, Florence High School
Chris Yeager, Mountain Brook High School
Steve Mask, Saint Paul's Episcopal School
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