The Bernard Blackwell North-South All-Star Football Classic has become a pre-Christmas holiday tradition on the Coast.
The game, in its 68th year, will be played at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Milner Stadium in Gulfport. The game was moved from Jackson to the Coast in 2009 and was also played in Ocean Springs and Biloxi during this stretch.
The Coast has 13 players on the South roster led by Gulfport and St. Martin. Defensive lineman D.J. Stevenson and offensive lineman Nicholas Dunomes lead the Admirals. Quarterback Wayne Overman III and wide receiver Kalem Reddix represent the Yellow Jackets.
Other Coast players are George County defensive back LaRaymond Spivery, D'Iberville defensive back D.J. Polk, Harrison Central defensive lineman Noah Vance, Stone kicker Mason Hunt, Ocean Springs LB/DE Brandon Smith, Pascagoula linebacker Matt Inlow, Gautier offensive lineman Justin Scott, Pascagoula running back Reginald Hunter and St. Stanislaus wide receiver Corbin Blanchard.
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Reddix is a Colorado State commitment. Overman and Blanchard are both going to the Air Force.
Long Beach coach Forrest Williams and Gulfport coach Eddie Pierce are both assistant coaches for the South. Williams is the South’s offensive coordinator. Pierce is coaching linebackers.
“We’re part of a great staff that loves the game of football and teaching young men about the game,” Williams said. “The South team has a great collection of athletes. They’re hungry to compete. It’s fun to coach a team of athletes selected from across the state and putting together a game plan over a few days.”
Added Pierce: “It’s been a great experience coaching a group of great kids.”
South All-Star head coach Todd Breland of Laurel praised the Coast for making the contest successful.
“The Coast goes out of their way for us in this game,” Breland said. “The local high schools, especially Gulfport, Harrison Central and West Harrison, along with the Guard, are so friendly and helpful.”
The North is coached by Water Valley’s Brad Embry. Madison Central quarterback Jack Walker, a Florida Atlantic commitment, leads the North All-Stars.
The North won 25-16 last year, snapping a four-game losing streak.
Bernard Blackwell North-South All-Star Football Classic
When: 11:30 a.m. Saturday
Where: Milner Stadium, Gulfport