MACJC Gridiron Classic back in Booneville

By Blake Long/Special to the Chickasaw Journal

BOONEVILLE – Tiger Stadium once again becomes the host of Mississippi’s community college football all-star game on Saturday.
The 37th annual MACJC All-Star Football Classic, pitting the North against South, will kick off at 1 p.m. and will be hosted by Northeast Mississippi Community College.
Every member of the MACJC will be represented in the game except Mississippi Gulf Coast, which will conclude its season in the Mississippi Bowl in Biloxi on Sunday.
Both the North and South squads will be comprised of 33 players, with no more than eight players apiece from any one community college allowed on each team. As Northeast coach Ricky Smither notes, these 66 players, who reported to Booneville on Thursday, have a huge opportunity ahead of them this weekend.
“Last year, we had 70 (senior college) staffs,” Smither said, “Just the opportunity these kids have to get out and showcase their talents is tremendous for them.
“The other colleges get to come in and get to look at the best talent in probably the best league in the country.”
Locally, Itawamba will have seven players participate and Northeast will have three.
The coaching staffs from third-place teams of the both the North and South divisions will serve as the coaching staffs for both squads, which for the North will be ICC’s Jon Williams and his staff.
“In an all-star setting, it’ll be a bit more laid back,” Williams said, “We’ll get to coach those guys in a way we weren’t able to during the season and just a lot more fun.”
The South has won the past two meetings and, in the process, has evened the all time series record at 17-17-2. The South held the North scoreless in a 28-0 win last December, while claiming a 16-14 win in 2008.
The North last won in 2007, taking a 17-14 decision over the South.