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All-Star game changes date

The Alabama-Mississippi High School All-Star Classic, played in June since it started in 1988, will move to Dec. 17, a schedule change coaches hope will attract more players.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association and Mississippi High School Activities Association had already approved the move. On Friday, the Mississippi Association of Coaches, which operates independently, gave its approval.

Playing in June had forced college-bound players to choose between the game and summer-school sessions, among other conflicts.

Just this year, in fact, Picayune’s Levi Slaydon was selected for the prestigious all-star game but declined the invitation because of a conflict with a senior trip.

Veteran Maroon Tide head coach Dodd Lee said just after this year’s game that he favored a move from the summer to the winter for the annual affair.

“I think it’s probably best for the players and the coaches to move the game,” said. Lee, who coached in the 2004 game. “It makes more sense for the players, because it would be more attractive for some that haven’t already committed to four year schools so that they can get some more attention from those coaches,” Lee added. “Plus, for coaches it wouldn’t cut into our training time for the upcoming season. It’s probably a perfect fit.”

Players from both states dropped out or declined invitations to the game in June, so officials in both states are hoping the switch to December will make the game more attractive to players.

The game will still be played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile. Alabama, which leads the all-time series 14-6, won the June contest 51-14, setting records for most points scored, largest margin of victory and most total yardage.

Picayune’s James Brady played for the Mississippi team this year.