North gets last laugh on South stars
By By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Dec. 9, 2001
CLINTON All week, the North All-Stars heard how big and how good the South was. Rumors began circulating that the South began taking it easy in practice, while the North toiled in two-hour-plus affairs.
Well on Friday night at the Mississippi Private School Association All-Star Game, the North got the last and hearty laugh. Led by North Delta School quarterback Chad McMahan, the North surprised the South with a 28-14 victory here at Robinson-Hale Stadium.
The win was gratifying for the five players and two coaches from the Meridian Star's area who participated for the North in the annual contest.
Mullins caught a 32-yard TD pass for the game's first score. Garner had the back-breaker on a 79-yard punt return to put the North up 28-7. In between, McMahan scored two touchdowns on runs of 3 and 13 yards. He was named the North's Offensive MVP.
The highlight for the local bunch though was the play of Winston Academy corner Jason Fulcher. He was named the North's Defensive MVP.
Fulcher was credited with six solo tackles and three assists. He also broke up a pair of passes. The play of the North secondary was critical because the South enjoyed a size advantage upfront and was directed by talented Silliman quarterback Micah Schilling.
While most All-Star games try to spread the wealth, Schilling had a direct hand in 50 of the South's plays. He passed the ball 30 times, completing 12 for 95 yards. He rushed 20 times for another 90.
Yet the South was only able to score two touchdowns.
The North picked off three passes and recovered a lost fumble that led directly to McMahan's go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter.
McMahan finished with 95 yards on nine carries and two TDs. He had another 42 yards passing which included the 39-yard TD pass to Mullins.
Heidelberg Academy's Heath Ainsworth was the second leading rusher for the North with 23 yards on seven carries. He also had a key two-point conversion that handed the North a 14-6 lead early in the third quarter.
Winston's Scott Peterson played at safety and got the North's second interception of the game against the South's David Crigler.
Wayne's Cory Cochran played with the second unit at wide receiver and caught one pass for a 12-yard first down.
Heidelberg linemen Joe Connor started at tackle and played the majority of offensive snaps for the North.
Two local players were on the South's side. They included Lamar School's Zach Moore and Leake's Luke Culpepper.
Culpepper had what could've been a pivotal play early when he intercepted a McMahan pass on the game's third play, but a roughing penalty on the South nullified the pick.
Moore was a second-team receiver and caught one pass for four yards.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. He can be reached at 693-1551 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.