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Gators’ Taylor tapped for state all-star game

[5/26/04]A Division I football signee, snubbed for the state all-star classic in July, has been given a roster spot after one of the starters dropped out.

Vicksburg High’s Maurice Taylor, the two-time state champion in the 100-meter dash and a Southern Miss football signee, was selected Monday to play in the Bernard Blackwell Classic.

The Classic, which pits players in all classes from North Mississippi against a team from the southern part of the state, is scheduled for July 17 at Madison Central.

“There is no doubt he should have been on the team in the first place,” said VHS coach Alonzo Stevens. “It reminds me when J.J. (Brown) was here, and he didn’t make it. I was like, if J.J. couldn’t make it, who can?'”

Taylor will join Warren Central safety Jason Williams as the only two area players to be chosen.

Taylor played running back and defensive back for the Gators a season ago. His blazing speed and ability to play a wealth of positions earned him a scholarship to Southern Miss.

Many local players will be participating in all-star games throughout the summer.

Vicksburg High’s James Jackson and Warren Central’s Mark Different were chosen to play in the Class 5A all-star baseball game on June 5 at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson.

On June 19, a pair of WC players Valera Vollor and Allen Carlisle are scheduled to play in the all-star soccer classics at Hinds. Vicksburg’s Brandi Parker and St. Al’s Michael Head are also scheduled to play.

WC’s Keisha Blue will be the lone county representative at the slow-pitch softball game on June 26, and junior Cookie Johnson will be playing in the North-South All-Star basketball classic on July 15.

This is the first year for a juniors-only basketball game. The concept is for college coaches and scouts to get a sneak peak at some of the state’s best seniors-to-be.

One local coach said the change to juniors hurt this year’s class because there was no transition. This year’s seniors, who could not play as juniors last year, were shut out again this year.

Tiffany Hubbard led the Missy Gators in scoring with 16.9 points per game and averaged 10 rebounds per game. She has signed to play at Holmes Community College.

“I feel like Mississippi should have done like Alabama did a couple years ago,” said VHS coach Mike Coleman, who coached Hubbard for four years. “They had a separate junior and senior game the year before they went to junior only.’

Hubbard was not one of 12 players selected to play in the Mississippi-Alabama all-star game, but Coleman believed she was good enough for the in-state game.

“I don’t know if she was one of the top 12, but I definitely think she is one of the top 36,” Coleman said.