Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer|
Hartselle graduate Dusty Schofield, left, helps block for Dora running back Maquis Chapel in the North-South All-Star football contest in Huntsville on Friday night. The South won 10-0.
Laid back and fun
Area football players show their skills in all-star contest
By Brooke Milam
firstname.lastname@example.org · 340-2460
HUNTSVILLE — It's mid July, but the 11th annual All-Star Sports Week football game had the feeling of a fall football Friday night.
A cool breeze blew, the sound of the band was a constant, and the smell of popcorn filled the air as eight local players took the field at Alabama A&M's Louis Crews Stadium with other recently graduated seniors selected from across the state.
Players even wore their own high school helmets, adding to the Friday night feel.
"It's a big stadium and there was a pretty good bit of people here," Hartselle grad Dusty Schofield said. "I miss the lights."
Former Hazlewood standout Davon McCoy had a similar feeling as he stepped onto the field Friday night. "I've missed it. I miss the light," McCoy said.
Earlier in the day, McCoy lost a friend and former teammate, Michael Langham, in a Lawrence County automobile accident.
And even though the South won 10-0 and increased its hold on the all-time series record, North players said the experience was a positive one with plenty of benefits.
The South posted the first shutout in the event since 2002 and now leads the overall series 7-4.
"It's a little more laid back, not so tense," Austin graduate Morgan Hull said.
"You're out here not to show off, but to showcase your skills with players from around the state. It was a fun experience."
Hull, a kicker who plans to walk-on at Auburn next month, punted five times in the contest, twice inside the 20-yard line, for an average of 42.8 yards with a long of 51 yards.
The North's 36-player roster included Schofield of Hartselle, Hull of Austin, McCoy and Mark Campbell of Hazlewood, Devans Orr of R.A. Hubbard and late additions Cody Arnold, Jeremy Craig and Caleb White from Clements.
Clements assistant coach Jason Black also was called as a replacement, filling the hole as administrative coach for the South team.
Pike County's James Jackson scored the game's only touchdown and was named the most valuable player of the South.
Erich Crowson, a Madison Academy graduate, was named the North's most valuable player after recording eight tackles, one for loss, and breaking up a pass.
After a scoreless first quarter, the South went up 3-0 in the opening seconds of the second on a 34-yard field goal by Woosong Noh of Stanhope Elmore.
Jackson's 33-yard scoring run came 4:15 before halftime and Noh tacked on the extra point to complete the scoring.
The South's 10-0 halftime lead stuck.
Josh Maclin of Columbia came closest to scoring for the North, catching a 40-yard pass from Pelham’s Josh Thomason in the end zone with five minutes left in the game, but couldn’t keep his feet inbounds, and the pass was ruled incomplete.
“I actually expected the game to be a lot more high-scoring,” McCoy said. “And I really didn’t expect us not to score. I thought we would score a lot of points.”
Limited playing time saw players subbing in and out about every other possession.
Hull was the only place-kicker listed for the North. Campbell played defensive back, Arnold and Craig were wide receivers, McCoy played linebacker, while White was at defensive end. Orr made the roster as a defensive lineman and Schofield at offensive line.
Players said different styles took some time to get used to.
The football all-stars reported to Huntsville on Monday and endured a week of two-a-day practices at Grissom High.
On Friday night, the North stayed under center in the I-formation the majority of the game, while the South kept to a shotgun 3-wide receiver set.
“It was fun playing with different players and (A&M) was a really nice place to play,” McCoy said. “I’m glad I got to do this. It’s an honor to be out here.”
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