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Changing places

CLINTON — For the first time in the history of the game, the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Football Classic will be contested on soil in the Magnolia State.

The announcement came on Monday, at a dual press conference hosted by The Mississippi High School activities Association and the Mississippi Association of Coaches.

For the past 26 years, since its inception, the contest has been played in Alabama. The first 22 years it took place at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, and for the past three seasons it was held at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery.

This year, the 2014 game will also take place in Montgomery. But the 2015 contest will take place at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.

“The Mississippi High School Activities Association is very proud to be sanctioning the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Classic while working alongside Mr. (Johnny) Mims of the MAC to bring this game to Mississippi for the first time,” Don Hinton, Executive Director of the MHSAA, said. “I am excited for us to be able to finally have the homefield advantage after 27 games. That’s got to help. So this event will be at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2015 and 2017. We feel like it is a terrific situation for USM to have 80 of the best football players in Mississippi and Alabama on its campus.”

Mims, Executive Director of the MAC, said he’s been working to get the game in Mississippi for the past decade.

“I just want to let Don and the MHSAA staff know much we appreciate their support of the coaches association,” Mims added. “We are over 4,500 strong as far as coaches in this state. This will be first time this game has been played on Mississippi soil. There is a lot of history and heritage in this game dating back to 1988. We want to continue it. There are a lot of coaches in Mississippi smiling today. I want to thank Bill McGillis at Southern Miss for the working relationship we have with him.”

McGillis, the Athletics Director at Southern Miss, was excited about the chance to host the game as well.

“We are extremely excited about today’s announcement related to the University of Southern Mississippi’s opportunity to serve as the host site for the Mississippi-Alabama All Star Football Game,” McGillis concluded. “Given that this will be the first time this game has ever been played in Mississippi, it’s obviously a historic moment for the university, city, region and state. We look forward to assisting the MHSAA and their partners in ensuring a first-class environment and game at M.M. Roberts Stadium.