GULFPORT — The South scored with less than 10 seconds to play to pull out a 14-10 come-from-behind win over the North Saturday afternoon in the 74th annual Bernard Blackwell North/South All-Star Prep Football Classic here at historic Milner Stadium.
Zechariah Parodi of Scott Central, a defensive tackle doubling as a quarterback at times, plunged his way to paydirt from three yards out with just five seconds to play providing the winning points.
The winning score was set up when inexplicably the North nursing a 10-7 lead decided to go for it on a fourth and two situation from its own 43-yard line with four minutes to play and lost a yard turning the ball over on downs to the South at the South 42.
It took the South seven plays to punch it in and secure its third straight win in the series. The South now leads the all-time series 36-29-5.
The first quarter ended scoreless.
The South got the first big break of the game early in the second stanza, as Doug Nelson of Hazlehurst came up with an interception and returned it to the North 10-yard line with 9:50 left in 2nd qtr.
It took just three plays for the South to capitalize on the turnover as Parodi hit Zakari Tillman of Florence on a 1-yard touchdown pass putting the South up 7-0 with 8:19 left in the quarter.
A bad special teams miscue by the South just before halftime allowed the North to knot things up going into intermission, however. A high snap in a punting situation from right around mid-field resulted in the North taking possession inside the South 10-yard line with 40 seconds to play.
Two plays later, Ty Davis of Itawamba AHS hit Roman Gregory of Oxford with a 5-yard touchdown pass. and the squads went to halftime tied up at 7-7.
The North didn’t waste much time as the third frame unfolded in breaking the deadlock as on its opening drive of the second half as Jackson Uselton of Hernando nailed a 23-yard field goal to give the North All-Stars a 10-7 lead midway through the quarter setting up the South’s comeback late in the game.
The South team’s head coach was Drew Causey of Oak Grove while the North team was led by Patrick Schoolar of Neshoba Central
Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Awards went to: North Offensive MVP Ty Davis, Itawamba AHS, North Defensive MVP Tommy Kelly, Jackson Provine. South Offensive MVP Javarious Walker, Raleigh and South Defensive MVP Zechariah Parodi, Scott Central.
This marked the 13th consecutive season that the Bernard Blackwell game was played in Gulfport and the 15th straight season it was contested on the Mississippi Gulf Coast after many years of being played in the Jackson area.