By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
GULFPORT – Pontotoc kicker Jeb Millender rarely misses an extra point, but in Saturday’s 64th annual Bernard Blackwell All-Star Classic, he had one blocked. A South defender raced in unblocked to slap away Millender’s kick.
“The timing was good on everything, he just had a straight shot,” Millender said. “Our outside guy turned the wrong way to block.”
He connected on 25 extra points and hit five field goals during the season for the Warriors. In Saturday’s game, he hit was 1 of 2 on extra points and averaged 36 yards on three punts.
Itawamba AHS running back Ashton Shumpert was named the Cotton Robertson Award winner, which goes to an Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Game player who exemplifies high standards and ideals of attitude, courage, character, leadership and sportsmanship.
The game was played last week in Montgomery, Ala., but the award was presented at halftime of Saturday’s game.
Robertson, an MAC Hall of Fame member, is the late former football coach and AD at Durant.
North/Oxford offensive lineman Clifton Smith was named the winner of the Bill Stewart Memorial Award, which goes to a player “who is outstanding on and off the field” during all-star camp.
East Marion defensive lineman Antron Watts was the South’s Stewart winner.
The game’s offensive MVPs were North QB Payne Horan of Grenada and South QB KhaDarel Hodge of Mendenhall.
The defensive MVPs were North free safety Deshadrick Truly of Charleston and South linebacker Cody Gilchrist of Jefferson County.
Aberdeen offensive lineman Brandon Hodges was added to the North roster. His addition gave Northeast Mississippi 16 players in the game. … Saltillo WR A.J. Hunt had two receptions for 14 yards while Starkville TE Stanley Higgins caught two for 22 yards. … Former Tupelo High coach Eric Collins, now head coach for Pearl River Central, was an assistant for the South staff. … The game was televised statewide, including Memphis, and by WTVA-ABC in Tupelo. … The series record now stands at South 30 wins, North 26 with four ties. From 1989-1992 the game was played between the 4A/5A and 1A/2A/3A all-stars.