News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Three's company in Mobile
Golden Eagle players among
largest group of all-stars

By Bradley Handwerger 340-2462

MOBILE — Of the 35 players representing Alabama this week in the 20th annual Alabama-Mississippi High School All-Star Classic on Saturday, three are from Athens.

That doesn't include Allen Creasy, Athens' head coach who joins players Alfred McCullough, Jacquez Pride and Karlos Jones, as an assistant coach for the team.

While that might not sound like a lot, don't be fooled. The only other program to boast as many representatives is Prattville.

Yes, that's the same Prattville that defeated the nationally respected Hoover program for the Class 6A state football championship in December.

Does three seem so low now?

"When you have more than one player in this game, you think of Prattville and Hoover," Creasy

"For a school the size of Athens to have three players to work hard enough to put themselves in this position, and then to have the ability to play in this game is something really special."

Creasy isn't alone in realizing just how special it is to have three players from the same school involved in the game.

"One school to have three people, that's special," said Jones, who signed to play football at UT-Martin.

"It's amazing. All of us coming down here, it feels better. You feel more at home. Who would have believed that three kids would have come from Athens to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game?"

Athens won the Class 5A state championship in December.

The Golden Eagles were only supposed to have one player in this week's game — McCullough, an Alabama signee. But two players dropped out, opening spots for Pride and Jones.

Don't think for one moment that bothers either Pride or Jones.

"It's the best," said Pride, who will play collegiately at Tuskegee University. "And for you to get selected to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game is an honor. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Not everybody has a choice to play in the game."

Said Jones: "No words can explain when I was told I could play in the Alabama-Mississippi all-star game. We'll be remembered forever, going down in history to playing the 20th annual game. I'm just proud to be in it."

A day into practice and Pride is already showing why he was selected to play in the game.

Alabama head coach Bill Clark, who moonlights as Prattville's head coach, likes what he sees.

"He's a good athlete, and that doesn't take you five minutes to realize," Clark said. "That's the kind of kid I want to coach."

Pride said playing in this game will help him get ready for college. While he's used to playing football, this is easily the most talented team he's been on. Twenty-six of his teammates signed NCAA Division I-A scholarships.

"It gets you prepared and to see what it feels like to play in the atmosphere of college football," Pride said. "You can see what it feels like, and you can get your mind focused."

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