PREP NOTEBOOK: High school all-star football kicks off Saturday

Football stockBy Brandon Speck and Gene Phelps

Daily Journal

The high school football all-star season kicks off at noon Saturday with the annual Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Football Classic in Montgomery, Ala.

Next Saturday, Dec. 21, the annual Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game between the North and South is scheduled for an 11:30 a.m. kickoff in Gulfport.

Both games are being televised by WTVA in Tupelo.

South Panola head coach Lance Pogue will coach the Mississippi team this season. He’ll be joined by five Northeast Mississippi players in Lafayette running back/receiver D.K. Buford, West Point running backs Aeris Williams and Roger Thomas, Itawamba AHS offensive lineman Ethan Orr and Oxford kicker Cody Mills.

Northeast Mississippi players on the North roster for the Blackwell game are Tupelo running back Quinn Tiggs, linebacker James Gilleylen and kicker Reed Bigham, Baldwyn running back DeVota Gates, North Pontotoc receiver Marcus Green, Corinth receiver Brice Spence, Booneville offensive lineman Tyler Floyd, Booneville athlete Andrew Lambert, Oxford defensive lineman Darrius Liggins, Ripley linebacker Aleck Hobson, New Albany defensive back Chris Brown and Calhoun City defensive back Lavarious Varnado.

West Point’s Chris Chambless is the North head coach. His staff includes Itawamba AHS’s Toby Collums, West Point’s Lee J. Grisham, Booneville’s Mike Mattox and New Albany’s Ron Price.

Lady Royal Rumble features Horn Lake

New Site High School will host its second annual Lady Royal Rumble Dec. 21.

The highlight is a 6:30 p.m. girls game between host New Site and 6A Horn Lake, ranked No. 24 in the nation by MaxPreps.

“This is the time of the year you play up,” New Site coach Byron Sparks said. “You don’t get better unless you play somebody good, somebody who can exposed your weaknesses.”

Five girls games and one boys contest are featured. The event tips off at 11 a.m. with a girls game between 6A Olive Branch and Itawamba AHS.

In the final at 8, Pontotoc’s girls play powerful Red Bay, Ala., a team that defeated New Site last week. Two other girls matchups on tap are Ripley against H.W. Byers at 2 and Starkville Academy playing 6A Southaven at 3:30.

At 5, New Site’s boys play Starkville Academy.

CrossTown Challenge scheduled for Saturday

The Tupelo CrossTown Challenge basketball tournament is scheduled for Saturday at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo.

The six-game schedule tips off at 11 a.m. with the Itawamba AHS boys playing Pine Grove. Alcorn Central’s girls play Florence, Miss., at 12:45 p.m., and Shannon’s boys play Carbon Hill, Ala., at 2:30.

In a 4:15 girls game, Tupelo plays Belmont. A boys doubleheader starts at 6 with Olive Branch against Florence, Miss., and Tupelo playing Sumter (Ala.) Central.

OLA’s Brittany Corder wins Gatorade award

Our Lady Academy’s Brittany Corder has been named Mississipp’s Gatorade Player of the Year in volleyball. The 5-foot-10 middleblocker led her team to a 41-2 record and a Class I state title.