Fyffe senior Brody Dalton recorded a catch on a drive that led to the Alabama all-stars’ first touchdown, as Alabama’s defense swiped five Mississippi passes in a 19-7 win in the 34th Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery on Saturday afternoon.
In his all-star appearance, Dalton, a tight end, made a 28-yard reception from Gardendale’s Will Crowder for a first down to the 50-yard line on the first play from scrimmage of a five-play, 63-yard drive that led to a 7-0 Alabama lead with 2:18 left in the first quarter.
Alabama’s win ended a three-year drought in the rivalry series between high school football senior all-stars from Alabama and Mississippi.
Alabama, coached by Steve Mask of St. Paul’s Episcopal, used a big-play defense and time-consuming offense to pile up 357 total yards to Mississippi’s 133. The Alabama secondary, led by Alabama’s game MVP Ga’Quincy McKinstry of Pinson Valley, had an All-Star Classic record.
The AHSAA and Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association managed the game with the Mississippi Association of Coaches. The series started in 1988 with Alabama winning three overtimes 24-21. The 34th game Saturday improved Alabama’s record in 23-11 overall.
Alabama got two interceptions from McKinstry and Saraland defensive back Terrente Hinton and one by Auburn’s Noah Warren. The three standouts had 120 yards in interception return yardage.
The hosts got their first break when Hinton picked off a Mississippi pass on the second play of the game to give Alabama the ball at the Mississippi 15-yard line. However, Mississippi’s defense stiffened and on fourth down at the 10, Spain Park place-kicker Drake Tabor missed wide left on his 28-yard attempt.
Alabama, which 238 total yards in the first half, took a 10-0 lead late in the second quarter when Tabor booted a 25-yard field goal to cap a 14-play, 82-yard drive with 1:07 left before intermission.
McKinstry, considered Alabama’s top recruit for the Class of 2021, turned in the most exciting play of the game on what was unofficially the last play of the first half when he intercepted a Mississippi pass at the Alabama 3-yard line, making an incredible spin move to evade two tacklers and then sprinting 97 yards for a touchdown. The score was called back on a blind-side block penalty and Alabama got one untimed down for the effort to end the half with the 10-point lead.
McKinstry also had two catches in the first half for 51 yards – including a 43-yarder for the longest reception in the game. He finished with three catches for a team-leading 76 yards. He also had 26 yards in interception returns officially, netting no yards on his 97-yard return due to a penalty and sprinting 26 yards before stepping out of bounds in the final minute to end Mississippi’s last possession.
Alabama had 19 first downs, 61 offensive plans and kept the ball for 28:35 of the game’s 48 minutes. Crowder finished 9-of-12 passing for 152 yards and two TDs. Trey Higgins of Oxford was 6-of-9 for 95 yards as Alabama finished 15-of-21 overall for 247 yards. Jay’Juan Townsend of Eufaula also had three receptions for 25 yards and Jordan Mosley had one catch for 30 yards. Hewitt-Trussville’s Armoni Goodwin led all rushers with 68 yards on 11 carries. Tabor kicked two field goals and punted twice for 46.5 yards. Defensively, Hinton, Lee Hunter of Blount, Ian Jackson of Prattville and Deontae Lawson of Mobile Christian had five tackles each for Alabama.
Lyles an all-star: Fyffe senior lineman Caleb Lyles is set to appear in the AHSAA’s North-South All-Star Game on Friday. The game will be played at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.