By Gene Phelps
GULFPORT – McComb quarterback Alex Woodall promised his injured teammate and friend – Oak Grove quarterback Kirk McCarty – a victory on Saturday.
The Louisiana Tech signee came through, throwing for two touchdowns to lead the South to a 24-9 victory in the fog against the North at Gulfport High’s Milner Stadium in the 65th Bernard Blackwell All-Star Football Classic.
“I had built a bond with this week,” Woodall, moments after being named the South’s Offensive MVP. “I told him, ‘I got you, man.’’’
McCarty suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter and didn’t return.
The South took a 10-0 halftime lead on a 30-yard Patrick Ponder field goal and on a 20-yard pass from Woodall to Wayne County’s DeJarvis Chambers.
The North missed its lone scoring opportunity when Tupelo’s Reed Bigham saw his 48-yard field goal attempt hit the crossbar and bounce back into the end zone at the 4:11 mark of the first quarter.
Bigham, with Golden Wave teammate Quinn Tiggs holding, knocked through a 48-yarder with 7:45 remaining in the third quarter to cut the South’s lead to 10-3.
Following an exchange of turnovers, the South made it 17-3 with 4:25 left in the third quarter on Woodall’s 39-yard pass to Mendenhall’s Julius Craft. New Albany defensive back Chris Brown went for the interception on the play.
“I thought I was in the right position,” Brown said. “The ball went off my fingertips.”
Seal the win
Laurel defensive back Kenton Cooley, the South Defensive MVP, sealed the win with a 27-yard pass interception return.
The North scored its lone TD with 26 seconds remaining on a 1-yard yard by Cleveland East Side’s Brice Spence. The score was set up went North Pontotoc’s Marcus Green took a short pass for a 69-yard gain.
Baldwyn fullback DeVonte Gates caught three passes for 16 yards. Tupelo running back Quinn Tiggs had three rushes for 12 yards and caught one pass for 9 yards.
On defense, Tupelo linebacker James Gilleylen had six tackles, Ripley linebacker Aleck Hobson five and Booneville defensive back Andrew Lambert four.
Oxford end Darrius Liggins added a tackle and forced a fumble.