All-Stars report Sunday for 59th North-South Football game

Published 10:02 pm Monday, July 16, 2018

     MONTGOMERY –  North-South teams prepare to report Sunday for the 59th North-South All-Star Football Game to be played at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl next week. The game will kick off at 7 p.m., July 19, as the 2018 All-Star Sports Week competition concludes for the 22th annual AHSAA All-Star Week and Summer Conference hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association.

Both squads will check in Sunday at Auburn-Montgomery University. Chris Muse of Locust Fork High School is the North head coach while Aubrey Blackwell of Montgomery Catholic High School will be coaching the South team.

Musso’s North coaching staff includes Tom Causey (Pelham), Drew Gilmer (Clay-Chalkville), Ryan Lolley (Gordo), Mark Sanders (Donoho), Matt Griffin (Sylacauga) and James Thompson (Pickens County). Southside-Selma’s Cedric Brown will be the North administrative coach. Blackwell’s South staff include Jon Cooper (Kinston), Josh McClendon (Greenville), Erik Speakman (Opelika), Kevin Smith (Benjamin Russell) and Kenny King (Daphne). South administrative coach is Gadsden City’s Mark Heaton.

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All-Star competition is being held in seven different sports. Baseball, basketball, softball and soccer squads report Monday with North-South competition set for all but basketball on Tuesday. Cross country and volleyball squads check in Tuesday.

Selma High’s Ta’Sharri Grimes will represent the Lady Saints on the girls basketball South roster, and Southside’s Derrick Griffin will represent the Panthers on the boys South roster in the North-South basketball All-Star basketball games on Wednesday at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome on Alabama State University.’s campus.

The Baseball all-stars will play a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m.; girls’ and boys’ soccer all-star teams will play at 5 and 7 p.m., at Emory Folmar Soccer Complex and the fast-pitch all-star doubleheader will be at Lagoon Park starting at 5 p.m.

Cross country girls’ competition starts at 7:30 a.m., Wednesday at the cross country course on the AUM campus. The boys’ race will follow at 8 a.m.  The girls’ and boys’ basketball competition will be Wednesday night at Alabama State University’s Oliver-Dunn Arena. The girls will play at 5 p.m. and the boys will follow at 7.

The 22nd Summer Conference  begins Monday. More than 4,000 coaches, administrators, contest officials, all-star players and others are expected to attend the conference, which will provide professional development for AHSAA member schools.

     The Summer Conference will conclude Friday, July 20, with two mandatory sessions for member schools as well as the 11th annual AHSAA Sportsmanship Luncheon honoring 75 schools that were fine and ejection free in 2017-18 and the Coaches Awards Banquet Friday night. The Officials Awards Luncheon will be held Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

The North won last year’s 58th All-Star Football Classic 14-13 for its third in a row and closed the South edge in the series to 30-26-2. The South’s last win came in 2014 in a 20-12 win. The North won the first game played in 1948 at Tuscaloosa, 33-0.  The North-South Boys’ Basketball All-Star was first played in 1953. The North won last year’s contest and holds a 48-27 edge in the series.  All other all-star venues began in 1997 except for cross country, which made its debut last summer.

Musso, who owns a 53-52 career record with stops at John Carroll and Locust Fork, has guided the Hornets to a 30-23 record and three trips to the playoffs in his first five seasons. Prior to his arrival in 2013, the Blount County school had gone 4-26 in the three previous years.

Blackwell, beginning his fourth season as the Knights’ head coach, is 22-11 with last season’s team finishing 10-2 – the first 10-win season for Catholic since 1989.       The AHSADCA operates under the auspices of the Alabama High School Athletic Association. Membership includes coaches of all AHSAA sports as well as administrators of member schools.