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Football Squads Report to Mobile For 63rd AHSAA North-South All-Star Game

Montgomery, AL – The North-South All-Star 37-man football squads reported Tuesday to Mobile to begin preparations for the 63rd AHSAA North-South All-Star Football Game to be played at Mobile’s Hancock Whitney Stadium this coming Friday night, December 17, at 7 p.m.

It didn’t take South head coach Jim Bob Striplin long to pinpoint one player on his talented South squad. Jackson High School senior quarterback Walter Taylor stood out in the crowd.

“He is a great looking athlete,” said Striplin, who played quarterback at Auburn University. “He’s a big, strong looking player. What I noticed more than his size, however, was how he is already taking ownership of this  team. It is obvious he has great leadership skills.”

Taylor and Pike Road quarterback Iverson Hooks bring a lot of offensive fire power to the South team. Both are outstanding runners and passers – and big-play quarterbacks who found a way to win. Hooks passed for 1,056 yards and 16 touchdowns while rushing for 984 yards and 12 touchdowns to lead the Patriots to a 14-0 record and the Class 5A state title.

Taylor helped Jackson knock off defending state champion Handley in the Class 4A quarterfinals before falling to eventual 4A state champion Vigor in the semifinals. He passed and rushed for more than 3,000 yards and also was a standout at linebacker.

Striplin said his squad had its first team meeting with the coaching staff Tuesday afternoon. “I looked around the room at all the talented kids who were there eager to play one more football game,” he said. “All I could think about was just how fortunate we all are to be able  to participate in this all-star game. I  told them they were there to play a game, develop friendships and most of all … enjoy the experience. When they get to be my age they will look back and be grateful for the opportunity.”

Striplin said he also felt a wave of gratitude for a game that has been able to help him try and make a difference in the lives of so many young athletes. “We are so fortunate in this state to have so many talented players, so many outstanding coaches who share a love for the game of football. No matter  the outcome of Friday’s game, I know this is going to be a great experience for all of us.”

Helena High School’s Richie Busby is serving as head coach for the North squad. Like Striplin, he was impressed with his 37-member group.  Among the North All-Stars are running backs Edward Osley of Class 6A state champion Clay-Chalkville and Demarcus Lacey of Class 5A  runner-up Pleasant Grove. Osley earned MVP honors in the 6A state finals rushing for five touchdowns to earn Super 7 Class 6A championship MVP honors. He finished his senior season rushing for 2,095 yards and 33 touchdowns on 266 carries leading Clay-Chalkville to a perfect 15-0 record. Lacey, who helped the Spartans finish 12-2, had 2,076 rushing yards and 28 scores on 173 carries.

The teams will have two practices on Wednesday and Thursday and meet in the All-Star game Friday night. The game will be televised over the AHSAA TV Network and live-streamed over the NFHS Network with WOTM TV producing the event. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast game the live over its statewide radio and live-stream audio network. Announcers will be Luke Robinson and Caleb Brooks. Tickets can  be purchased online at GOFAN.

The AHSAA manages the North-South Classic through its coaching wing, the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association. The game was played in Mobile for the first time in its rich history last year. The South won 28-20 last December at Mobile’s new Hancock Whitney Stadium at the University of South Alabama. From 2010-2019 the game was played at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl as part of the AHSAA and AHSADCA All-Star Sports Week. The game was cancelled due to the COVID Pandemic in 2020 with the 2020-21 school year moved from the summer to December last year and enjoyed its first trip to Mobile.

The North-South Classic, the AHSAA’s oldest all-star event, was first played in 1948 at Tuscaloosa on the campus of the University of Alabama and remained at Bryant-Denny Stadium in the summer through 1984. A small-school all-star game was also held at Auburn in 1984. The game was discontinued from 1985-1996 but reinstated in 1997 when the AHSAA instituted All-Star Sports Week with the Summer Conference. It was played at Cramton Bowl from 1997-2004 and then moved to Troy University for two years and Huntsville’s Alabama A&M University from 2007-2010. It returned to Montgomery in 2011.  

After last year’s win, the South holds a 32-27-2 lead in the series.

The North coaching staff also includes: Phil Phillips, Oneonta; Kelvis White, Bob Jones; Wade Waldrop, James Clemens; John Ritter, Russellville; Ryan Lock, Etowah; Bruce Breland, Victory Christian; and administrative coaches Ben Johnson, Scottsboro and Randy White, Athens (retired).

The South coaching staff includes: Jason Massey, Leroy; Brent Hubbert, T.R. Miller; Marcus Gardner, Carver-Montgomery; Brad Abbott, Maplesville; Jason Franklin, Holtville; Juan Williams, LaFayette; and administrative coaches Mark Heaton, Baldwin County and Lev Holly, Mobile County Schools.

Alabama beat Mississippi last weekend in the 35th Alabama-Mississippi Classic 20-0. That game is also managed by the AHSADCA and director Brandon Dean. That team was comprised of 40 senior standouts. 

NORTH-SOUTH FOOTBALL ALL-STAR CLASSIC YEAR-BY-YEAR HISTORY (1948-2020)
(Overall Series: South leads 32-27-2)

At Hancock Whitney Stadium (Mobile)
2020—December game South 28, North 20

At Cramton Bowl (Montgomery)
2020—Summer game canceled due to COVID 19

2019—South 22, North 19

2018—North 27, South 14

2017—North 14, South 13

2016—North 14, South 0 (shortened by weather)

2015—North 14, South 13

2014—South 20, North 12

2013—South 22, North 21

2012—North 34, South 12

2011—South 37, North 33

2010—North 14, South 7

At Alabama A&M (Huntsville)

2010—North 14, South 7

2009—North 14, South 7

2008—South 12, North 0

2007—South 10, North 0

At Veterans Memorial Stadium (Troy University)

2005—(December) – South 16, North 7

2004— (December) – North 7, South 3

At Cramton Bowl (Montgomery)

2004—North 17, South 7

2003—South 17, North 10

2002—South 34, North 0

2001—North 6, South 3

2000—North 17, South 0

1999—South 10, North 7

1998—South 21, North 0

1997—South 14, North 0

At Jordan-Hare Stadium (Auburn)

1984—North 21, South 20 (1A-2A)

At Bryant-Denny Stadium (Tuscaloosa)

1984—South 7, North 6 (3A-4A)

1983—South 34, North 7

1982—North 3, South 0

1981—North 14, South 6

1980—South 20, North 7

1979—South 3, North 0

1978—South 21, North 14

1977—South 17, North 7

1976—South 14, North 6

1975—North 7, South 6

1973—North 22, South 15

1972—South 14, North 13

1971—North 9, South 7

1970—South 13, North 9

1969—South 16, North 0

1968—South 27, North 7

1967—South 14, North 10

1966—North 13, South 7

1965—North 13, South 6

1964—South 34, North 7

1963—North 20, South 6

1962—South 20, North 14

1961—South 13, North 0

1960—North 7, South 0

1959—North 10, South 7

1958—South 20, North 6

1957—North 12, South 7

1956—South 0, North 0 (tie)

1955—North 26, South 7

1954—North 7, South 6

1953—South 26, North 0

1952—North 7, South 7 (tie)

1951—South 31, North 0

1950—South 12, North 7

1949—North 7, South 6

1948—North 33, South 0