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South taking on North today in annual battle

By Curtis Rockwell

Item Sports Editor

GULFPORT — As the Bernard Blackwell contest celebrates a milestone today, the South will be looking to celebrate with a win.

The 65th annual North-South Mississippi prep football all-star game, better known as the Bernard Blackwell Classic, kicks off at 11:30 a.m., here at Milner Stadium. The game will be televised by WLOX-T+V and across the state by other outlets.

The South leads the all-time series 30-26-4, with five other games featuring a large schools vs. small schools format. The South won last year’s game 34-13.

Tickets are $10 at the gate, and seating is general admission on both sides.

Pearl River Central offensive lineman Colin Spiers is the only local player competing in today’s game.

The Pascagoula duo of linebacker Caleb Caston (an Arkansas State commitment) and offensive lineman Keith Crawford will suit up for the South, along with Greene County running back Raymond Crumpton. Pascagoula head coach Lewis Sims will coach linebackers for the South.

“Both of those guys started for three years for us and really helped lead our team to a 30-9 record in three years,” Sims said. “They’re getting to reap the fruits of their labor.”

Other players from the six coastal counties on the South team include Biloxi tight end Raekwon McClellan, D’Iberville running back Quantrell Reddix, Harrison Central cornerback Lashard Durr and Bay kicker/punter Patrick Ponder. Biloxi running back Devoraie Martin was originally chosen for the team but dropped out due to injury, while Gulfport wide receiver Jevon Floyd moved up to last weekend’s Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic when another player was injured.

Union’s Brad Breland will serve as head coach of the South, with West Point’s Chris Chambless leading the North. Top players for the North include Madison Central quarterback Joseph Willis, Louisville wide receiver Desmond Goss and Oxford defensive lineman Darrius Liggins (a Mississippi State commit).

Local fans should be familiar with quite a few of the players in the game, as both PRC and Picayune have faced Pascagoula several times over the past few years. The Maroon Tide beat Reddix and D’iberville this season, as well as knocking off Liggins and the Chargers in the Class 5A state championship game two weeks ago. Poplarville faced Bay High and Ponder this season as well, and PRC fell to Gulfport to open the season.

South quarterbacks are Oak Grove’s Kirk McCarty and McComb’s Alex Woodall, a Louisiana Tech commit. Other key players for the South include Brookhaven wide receiver Fred Trevillion, who played quarterback for the Panthers this season, and the Bassfield duo of linebacker Alvin Moore (an Ole Miss commit) and defensive back Curtis Mikell (Southern Miss).

Woodall is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound specimen behind center as is Willis at 6-foot-5, 225-pounds.Willis accumulated 2,515 passing yards and a 28-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio as a senior, helping the Jags reach the Class 6A quarterfinals.

Another key player for the South is Petal running back Tyus Raine, who transferred to the Panthers from Poplarville. Raine rushed for nearly 1,800 yards as a senior, including 335 in a Week 2 victory over Picayune.

“What he did for us last year and this year speaks for itself,” Petal coach Marcus Boyles said.