‘Bittersweet’ outcome in showcase for juco players

By David Wheeler/Special to the Journal

BOONEVILLE – The 39th playing of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges All-Star game Saturday wrapped up an intense three days of work for coaches and players at Northeast Community College.
The wrap to the weekend was a 17-3 victory in the contest by the South squad over the North.
But the real winners are the players from throughout Mississippi who had a chance to earn scholarships over the three days of workouts and the game.
“I think the guys went out and had fun,” said Itawamba Community College head coach Jon Williams, who was a spectator for this game, but had five players on the North squad. “The biggest thing of this weekend was that the practices were good for them.”
Perhaps more important than the game, is the number of college recruiters that attend the practices Thursday and Friday leading up to the actual contest. For many players, it is their last chance to perhaps impress the right recruiter, and extend their college playing career.
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“I thought this was a fun weekend meeting all the new people,” Northeast defensive back Kareem Brown of New Albany said. “The environment, and the atmosphere this week was great.
“This could be bittersweet because it was my last football game at Northeast, and perhaps my last football game.”
Brown was named the Defensive MVP of the contest.
As to the actual game, the South struck first on an 8-yard fumble recovery and return by Rondrick Ragsdale from Gulf Coast.
The North responded with a 30-yard field goal by Northeast’s Chris Cooper.
With all-star game rules, Cooper, a freshman from Madison, was also kicking for the South squad, and connected for a 37-yard field goal for a 10-3 halftime score.
The South then added a 14-yard pass from Clint Hatten to Cade Amacker, both from Gulf Coast, to account for the scoring in the second half.
Ragsdale was named the game MVP.
The South leads the all-star series, 19-18-2.