By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – High school football in May?
It worked Wednesday night for the Northeast Mississippi Football Coaches Association, who hosted its first ever NEMFCA All-star game at Saltillo High School.
The victory on the scoreboard was claimed by the East squad 10-7 in double overtime over the West, but the real winner could be one of the 70 players who might pick up a chance at playing on the college level because of this game.
“The thing I like best is that it gives these kids another opportunity,” said Booneville’s Mike Mattox, who was the East head coach. “And some took advantage of it tonight.”
From a pure football stand point, the East needed a fourth-quarter touchdown to send the contest into extra play.
Corinth’s Brady Allen completed two key passes on a 75-yard drive for the East, beginning with a 36-yard effort to West Oktibbeha’s Von Smith.
Then with 3 minutes, 16 seconds to play, Allen hooked up with Chandler Dexter from Tishomingo County for a 15-yard score.
“I was just looking for mismatches out there,” said Allen, who has committed to Itawamba Community College. “This was a great experience, and great for the kids who don’t have a place to go yet.”
The East attempted a 48-yard field goal on the final play of regulation, but Eric Lemus from West Point missed just to the left.
In the first overtime, both teams tossed interceptions on their first plays from scrimmage.
The East had the ball first in the second extra frame, with Josh Kugel from Caledonia hitting a 33-yard kick for the lead.
The West eventually lined up for a 26-yard kick to tie, but the snap was high, and the attempt was blocked.
“For the first-ever game, I think it was a success,” said New Albany’s Ron Price, the West head coach. “I’m just disappointed we couldn’t finish drives.”
The West scored its TD in the second quarter on a 15-yard pass from Bruce’s Davis Brown to Oxford’s Toler Presley.