South wins third straight contest

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, December 25, 2013

GULFPORT — McComb’s Alex Woodall led the South to its third straight win in the Bernard Blackwell All-Star Classic on Saturday.

Woodall and Oak Grove’s Kirk McCarty were the South’s quarterbacks, but McCarty was injured in the first half. Woodall responded by compiling over 150 yards of total offense and throwing for a pair of scores as the South beat the North 24-9 in the 65th renewal of this annual game here at Milner Stadium.

“He’s a good kid and he’s got unlimited potential,” said South head coach Brad Breland of Union. “He’s 6-foot-4, 230 (pounds) and he’s got a rifle of an arm. I don’t understand why he’s not getting more looks at quarterback, because he did a great job.”

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Woodall was named the offensive Most Valuable Player for the South for his performance. Pearl River Central offensive lineman Colin Spiers provided some key blocking for Woodall and the winning team.

Woodall fired a 20-yard touchdown pass to Wayne County’s DeJarvis Chambers on the first play after McCarty went down, putting the South in control with a 10-0 halftime lead.

“Kirk felt like a brother to me, we were roommates this week,” Woodall said. “We got really close. I knew I had to step up for him. When he left the field, I told him I had him.”

The North finally cut into the lead on a 48-yard field goal by Tupelo’s Reed Bigham with 7:45 left in the third. After the teams exchanged turnovers, Woodall struck again with a 39-yard scoring toss to Mendenhall’s Julius Craft for a 17-3 South lead after three quarters.

The South put the game away with 6:50 to play, when Laurel’s Kenton Cooley stepped in front of a Joseph Willis pass and raced 31 yards for a touchdown and a 24-3 lead. The South forced three turnovers — including a fumble recovery on a kickoff by Cooley, who was named South’s Defensive MVP.

The North finally got into the end zone with 26 seconds remaining, when East Side’s Barron Burns ran one yard for a touchdown (the extra point failed). The score was set up by a 68-yard pass from Willis to North Pontotoc’s Marcus Green.

The South’s other score came on a 30-yard, second-quarter field goal from Bay’s Patrick Ponder, who also averaged 46 yards on three punts.

“We kind of felt like we had something special on this team,” Breland said. “We tried to hit a little bit on Wednesday night, but we had to back off because we got some guys hurt. There was a lot of talent on this team.”

Bigham was Offensive MVP for the North, while Charleston’s Calwuan Street earned defensive honors. Bill Stewart Awards (sportsmanship/character) went to McCarty for the South and Tupelo’s James Gilleylan for the North.

The South now leads the all-time series 31-26-4, including three straight victories. The game was played in Milner for the second straight year.