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Alabama quarterback Larry Smith (10) of Prattville loses the football in front of Mississippi’s Brannan Byrd (46) during the first quarter of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic in Mobile on Saturday night.
AP photo by Mary Hattler
Alabama quarterback Larry Smith (10) of Prattville loses the football in front of Mississippi’s Brannan Byrd (46) during the first quarter of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic in Mobile on Saturday night.

Vandy signee state’s brightest star
Prattville QB, Decatur’s McClain named MVPs in victory

By Bradley Handwerger
bhandwerger@decaturdaily.com · 340-2462

MOBILE — Neither Alabama, nor Auburn, cared for Larry Smith as a quarterback.

Saturday, in Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Smith showed both schools why Vanderbilt made a smart decision in allowing Alabama’s Mr. Football to stay at quarterback.

Smith went 12-of-26 passing for 194 yards and two touchdowns, and Alabama won the 20th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic 51-14, the state’s ninth win in the past 11 in this series.

“It’s great to end my high school career with a victory like this,” said Smith, Alabama’s offensive most valuable player. “To have success with a team like this is great.”

Decatur High’s Rolando McClain finished with 2.5 tackles and also blocked a punt on his way to being named Alabama’s defensive MVP.

“I feel like I came in and showed my future coaches I am ready,” McClain said. “I can play at a faster speed. Everything they wanted as a recruit, they’re going to get.”

Athens High’s Jacquez Pride added 1.5 tackles, and fellow Golden Eagle Alfred McCullough had a half tackle.

Karlos Jones, also of Athens, recovered a fumble late in the third quarter that set up an Alabama touchdown that set the game’s record for most points by one team in the game.

The previous record was 38 by Mississippi in 1995.

And while Smith, who went 39-2 in three years as Prattville High’s starting quarterback, moved the ball down the field with his arm, Cedar Bluff’s Jamie Hampton ran for 50 yards and a score as a quarterback, and Oxford’s Charles McClain aided him, gaining a game-high 73 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Alabama set eight team records, including most points in a game (51), in a quarter (20 in the third) and in a half (34 in the second).

“We came out wanted to set records,” Charles McClain said. “We wanted to set the tempo of the game high.”

The Alabama All-Stars got going immediately, moving the ball on their opening possession 61 yards on seven on plays, scoring when Smith found Auburn High receiver Ralph Spry open in the end zone.

Though fortunate, Alabama’s second score showed those in attendance that this was Alabama’s night. A Mississippi safety tipped a ball that Smith rifled into coverage. Charles McClain caught the tipped pass and scurried nearly 10 yards into the end zone for a score, giving Alabama a 14-0 second-quarter lead.

Mississippi came right back, cutting Alabama’s lead in half when Austin Davis hit Ronnie Tubbs for a 35-yard touchdown pass with 5:04 to go in the half.

And then the slaughter began.

Alabama rolled off 23 unanswered points, taking a close game and turning into the most lopsided game in Classic history.

If not for Smith’s old high school coach Bill Clark pulling him out of the game to play Hampton,
he would have set a game-record for most yards passing.

He accrued 193 yards in 21/2 quarters, and the current record is 231 yards.

“He’s awesome,” Decatur High offensive lineman Caleb Thomas said. “He’s definitely going D-I for a reason.”

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