South All-Stars prevail 27-24 over the North in the Bernard Blackwell Classic
GULFPORT, Miss. (WDAM) -The 73rd annual Bernard Blackwell Classic featured some of the best football players in Mississippi as the North and South All-Stars faced off in Gulfport.
South schools walked away with state championship trophies in five of the six title games to cap the 2021 season, and once again, players from South schools proved their dominance Saturday after defeating the North, 27-24.
The Pine Belt was well represented in Gulfport, starting at the top, where the South All-Stars were led by Laurel head coach Ryan Earnest.
“I’m just proud to be a part of that,” Earnest said. “Again, we’ve got some great kids out here and they’ll all do special things.
“I’m really looking forward to three or four years down the line looking back at this all-star roster, not just for the South but for the North as well, and just seeing some of the great things they’re going to do down the road because they’re not only really, really good football players, they’re great kids.”
The players said they enjoyed their short time together as a team.
“I enjoyed the three, four days we were with each other,” Hattiesburg/South defensive back Kam’Ron Norwood said. “We just came out here and dominated.”
In a game loaded with talent, players from both sides understood the level of play that was necessary in order to compete on the field.
“They’re all really good players,” Sumrall/South quarterback John Ford said. “Most of them have offers. So, when you come out here and just compete with all of them, you realize what you have to get to to be great. We all just grew together.”
Earnest said, year in and year out, the state tends to be deep in talented football players.
“Per capita, I think Mississippi football is the best in the country,” Earnest said. “I mean, the proof is in the pudding Per capita, we put more people in the NFL than anyone else in the country. The greatest running back to ever play the game is from Mississippi. The greatest football player to ever play the game is from Mississippi.
“That kind of speaks for itself and I think these coaches in this state and our leadership, we do a great job of mentoring and pointing these kids in the right direction. I just think the best is yet to come from the state of Mississippi from a football aspect.”
Pine Belt players in the Bernard Blackwell Classic:
- John Ford, Sumrall quarterback: South Offensive Player of the Game, 9-21, 128 passing yards with 0 interceptions
- Tyrell Pollard, Oak Grove receiver: 3 catches for 27 yards
- Carlos Martin, Laurel receiver: 1 catch for 8 yards
- Omar Johnson, Columbia running back: 10 rushes for 28 yards
- Carlos Brown, Stone running back: 8 rushes for 15 yards
- Nate Jones, Petal kicker: 44 yd field goal, 33 yd field goal
- Ahmad Harmon, Poplarville linebacker: 1 interception, 7 tackles
- Jody Durr, Magee defensive back: 1 interception 4 tackles
- Kam’Ron Norwood, Hattiesburg defensive back: 1 interception, 2 tackles
- Peyton Anderson, Columbia defensive end: 1 sack, 4 tackles
- Avery Sledge, Forrest County Agriculture: 4 tackles
- Cartize Booth, Bay Springs defensive end: 3 tackles
- Dontavious Howard, Oak Grove defensive back: 3 tackles
- ArJalen Marshall, Laurel defensive end: 3 tackles
- McKale Boley, Oak Grove offensive lineman
- Jason Townsend, Columbia offensive lineman
- Conner Davis, Poplarville offensive lineman
Copyright 2021 WDAM. All rights reserved.