By John Wilbert and Brandon Speck | Daily Journal
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – This was supposed to be one of the best weeks of Michael Christian’s high school football career.
Yes, the New Albany High senior is a student manager and not a player. But he still got to take part in the 25th Alabama- Mississippi All-Star Football Game.
He still got to see and hear Alabama head coach Nick Saban Auburn’s Gene Chizik speak as part of the all-star events.
While Christian enjoyed the festivities as a student manager, he had to, at the same time, deal with a tragedy involving the one person ultimately responsible for him being in Montgomery.
Hours after being dropped off by Ron Price, his school’s head football coach, in Jackson, Miss., so that he could catch a ride to Montgomery on Monday morning, Price and his wife returned to their New Albany home.
About 10 p.m., both Prices were shot at home. Amanda Price later died, while her husband survived.
“My head coach (on Price) had recommended me for this game,” Christian said in an interview after Saturday’s game. “I found out about that Tuesday morning.”
Christian said he left Montgomery on Thursday morning to attend Amanda Price’s funeral that afternoon and returned to Montgomery on Friday night.
“I made them both a promise that I was coming back here to make them both proud of me,” said the fourth-year student manager. “And I hope I did that because they had been really good to me and supported me.
“Even when I really needed them the most, they had always been there. So, I told them I was keeping my promise and I came back. I know she is looking down on me and I know she is proud of me.”
Of the seven-man officiating crew on Saturday at the Cramton Bowl, six made the drive to Montgomery from Northeast Mississippi, and five of those six were from Monroe County.
Referee John Allmond, umpire Ed Mattox and head linesman Earnest Williams reside in Aberdeen. Field judge Sidney Farrar and back judge Glenn Adams are from Amory, while side judge John Wortham is a Calhoun City resident.
Line judge John Mitchell is a Gluckstadt resident.