High School Sports

Mississippi dominates Alabama in all-star game

Marcus Murphy of West Point carries the ball in the 31st Mississippi Alabama Football Classic at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg.
Marcus Murphy of West Point carries the ball in the 31st Mississippi Alabama Football Classic at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg. Hattiesburg American

Most said it wouldn’t be done, but those people were wrong.

Team Mississippi scored 35 points in the second half while holding Team Alabama to zero points for a 42-7 win in the 31st annual Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game at M.M. Roberts Stadium Saturday. It was the second time the game was played at the Southern Miss location, and Mississippi is 2-0 at The Rock after beating Alabama 28-21 in 2015.

It was the most lopsided win for Team Mississippi in the game’s history. The previous largest margin of victory was 29 points in 1995.

The Coast was represented by three players, St. Stanislaus lineman and Central Arkansas commit Brandon Tartavoulle, East Central tight end and Mississippi State commit Brad Cumbest and Gulfport linebacker Karlos Dillard, who has offers from Air Force, Army and others. The Admiral was among Mississippi’s tackle leaders with 2 1/5, while Cumbest made three receptions for 36 yards.

Ocean Springs coach Ryan Ross and Pearl River Central’s Larry Dolan were also on Mississippi’s staff.

Alabama scored on its opening possession to take a 7-0 lead, but the Mississippi defense dominated for the rest of the game.

“Really, we wanted to hold them to zero points,” Oak Grove defensive lineman Jaden Crumedy said with a smirk. “I don’t know, the momentum just changed and we just started going harder.”

Alabama had 218 total yards in the contest, but 76 came on the first drive. After Mississippi punted, Alabama needed nine plays to score its only touchdown of the day. Wetumpka, Alabama, native, Kavosiey Smoke, who holds offers from Florida, Southern Carolina, Missouri and Kentucky, scored from the 1-yard line.

Mississippi didn’t get anything going until late in the first quarter after Alabama fumbled a snap and West Point’s Jason Brownlee recovered it. Mississippi quarterback Kenny Gainwell, a product of Yazoo County who’s committed to Memphis, rushed it in from 24 yards.

In the second half, Mississippi blew it open with a 21-point third quarter and 14 more points in the fourth. Gainwell added two more scores from the 12- and 3-yard lines, and Mississippi State commit Marcus Murphy scored two touchdowns from 2 and 25 yards.

Before those scores, former Tulane commit and South Panola quarterback Patrick Shegog gave Mississippi a 14-7 lead early in the third with a 3-yard scamper.

“We definitely knew we’d put up big points,” Southern Miss commit and Brookhaven product Trace Clopton said. “I’m not going to say we knew it’d be 42-7, and the defense really came out and showed out to hold that talented Alabama offense to seven points.

“We came out fired up in the second half and we were rolling from then. We had it.”

Clopton was joined by three other Southern Miss pledges on the Mississippi roster. Hattiesburg’s Will Robinson, Oak Grove Hayes Maples and Clopton’s Brookhaven teammate Jemaurian Jones all saw their first action at M.M. Roberts Stadium.

“Yeah, it was the first time we played together,” Maples said. “We’re undefeated on the field right now, so it feels good.”

Clopton echoed Maples’ sentiment.

“Like I told all of my fellow commits, it’s the first of many. First of many wins on this home turf,” he said. “It was a great atmosphere. Mississippi has a lot of tradition and a lot pride, so it was a great experience.”

Maples was third on the defense with 3 1/2 tackles, with one being for a loss, Robinson had three tackles and Crumedy had two tackles, one for a loss. Crumedy and Robinson also came together to pressure the quarterback in the third quarter, which resulted in an interception. Mississippi would score three plays later to push the lead to 21-7.

“We’re here to play a high school football game with a lot of five stars and four stars, and it’s just a blessing,” Robinson said.

Alabama now leads the series 22-9.

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