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Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Classic set for tonight in Mobile

By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
June 16, 2001
Since its beginning on June 18, 1988, the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Classic in Mobile, Ala., has been the showcase for some highly-competitive, hard-fought football games.
Alabama holds an 8-5 lead in the series following a 16-9 victory last year.
The first three games took a total of eight overtimes to settle. Of the 13 previous meetings, nine were decided by seven points or less.
Kickoff for this year's game is set for 7 p.m. tonight at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net.
This year's contest could be an offensive bonanza after low-scoring games three of the last four years.
Quarterbacks for Mississippi are Moss Point's Damarius Bilbo (6-4, 215) and Indianola Gentry's Michael Spurlock (5-11, 190).
Running backs are Madison Central's Sylvester Brown (5-11, 210), Ruleville Central's Noah Ingram (5-11, 215), Philadelphia's Marquez Dupree (6-0, 205), and McComb's Thomas Jackson (5-7, 195).
Mississippi has some huge offensive linemen in Hernando's Johnny Wadley (6-4, 355), South Pike's Cornelius Stallings (6-4, 315), Madison Central's Chris Spencer (6-4, 315), Starkville's Rodney Outlaw (6-2, 290), Collins' Neal Mead (6-5, 290), Petal's Chris McNeil (6-4, 275), and Gulfport's Billy Garner (6-2, 260).
Spurlock and Bilbo combined to throw 67 touchdown passes last fall.
Spurlock, an Ole Miss signee, completed 35 touchdown passes, the best in Class 5A. He threw for 3,348 yards and also ran for 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Bilbo, a Georgia Tech signee, completed 169-of-316 passes for 3,037 yards and 32 touchdowns. Bilbo also handled the kicking chores at Moss Point, making 10 field goals including a long kick of 42 yards. He also booted 50 PATs and finished the year with 110 total points.
Ingram had four rushing games of 250 yards or more in 2000. His 506-yard effort on 41 carries in a 74-71 shootout win over Gentry set a state record. Ingram finished the season with 3,157 yards and 29 touchdowns on 338 carries.
Brown set a state record with 7,130 career rushing yards. He scored 32 touchdowns and ran for 2,652 yards as a senior.
While the Mississippi defensive side may not have gained as much notoriety as its offense, it's still a pretty stout squad.
Sartin, who played high school football at Dexter, played in the second-annual Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Classic in 1989 before going on to a career at Mississippi State. Alabama eventually won 24-21 in four overtimes.
Alabama's team has its standouts as well.
Leading the Alabama offense are running backs Carnell Williams (6-0, 195) of Etowah and Keldrick Williams (5-10, 205) of Sidney Lanier.
Carnell Williams, who may very well start at Auburn this fall, ran for 1,729 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2000. As a junior, he rushed for 2,530 yards and scored 35 touchdowns
Carnell Williams was Alabama's Mr. Football last season and wound up his career with over 6,500 rushing yards and 92 touchdowns. Etowah reached the Class 5A finals three of his four years.
Keldrick Williams rushed for 5,646 career yards and scored 68 touchdowns.
Arriving Wednesday after tending to school work at Ole Miss were the Mississippi trio of Mario Hill from Meridian, Keith Houston of Philadelphia, and Chris Spencer of Madison Central.
Justice is pleased with what he's seen from his team.
Alabama lost offensive lineman Alan Klinner (6-4, 295) of Vestavia Hills with a reaggravation of a previously injured knee on Tuesday.
The risk of injury has caused some athletes to not participate in this and other all-star games in recent years.
Sixteen of the participants in this year's game have either signed or will walk-on at Ole Miss this fall.
Auburn's Tommy Tuberville likes for his signees to play in the all-star games to a certain point.
Marty Stamper is a sports writerfor The Meridian Star. E-mail him at mstamper@themeridianstar.com.