South wins weather-delayed Bernard Blackwell Classic|Prep football

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 17, 2009

CLINTON — Delayed two hours by thunderstorms that surrounded Mississippi College’s Robinson-Hale Stadium, the South All-Stars pounded the North 30-14 to take the 60th annual Bernard Blackwell All-Star football classic Thursday night.

With a storm front fast approaching from the west, the big question was whether the game would even be played. Mississippi Association of Coaches President Johnny Mims of Vicksburg said he had never experienced such a long delay because of weather.

“This has never happened since I’ve done this game,” said Mims, who joined the MAC executive staff in 1994. The weather delay, caused by lightning within a six-mile radius of the stadium, was the game’s first since 1993.

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Taking advantage of a two-hour window from when the initial thunderstorms left the Clinton area and before the next batch of storms came in, the South went to work building a 17-0 halftime lead. They got a 10-yard touchdown run from Chucky Nichols of Northeast Jones to cap the game opening drive and later added a 24-yard TD run by Kendrick Hardy of Lawrence County to go up 14-0. Hardy was later awarded the game MVP honors after rushing for 57 yards on seven carries.

Adam Herrington booted a 21-yard field goal late in the first half for a 17-0 lead and Nichols’ 5-yard TD run late in the third quarter upped the lead to 24-0.

Vicksburg’s Les Lemons, the North’s starting quarterback, said his team had trouble getting started.

“We just didn’t get things going early,” Lemons said.

That was accurate. The South piled up 235 yards in offense to the North’s 42. The North had just one first down, that coming on a 13-yard catch by Lemons from the North’s backup quarterback Harry Peoples of Winona.

The North avoided the shutout when WaJavius Jones of Velma Jackson scored on an 11-yard TD run with six minutes to play in the game.

Lemons then hit Peoples on a 10-yard TD pass with 40 seconds left to cut the South lead to 24-14 after a two-point conversion.

Instead of ending the game on kneeldowns, the South threw two passes, the last coming on a 10-yard TD toss from D’Iberville’s Mark Seymour on the game’s final play.

“Win or lose, the game was still fun,” said Lemons, who will now look to start at quarterback at Hinds Community College when practice starts next month.

“I think I showed I can be a leader. I showed I can play quarterback,” he said.

in the game, Lemons was 4-for-8 for 31 yards and one touchdown. He had a 13-yard reception, 10 yards rushing on six carries and also returned two kickoffs for 35 yards.

Trey Prentiss, another Vicksburg High alum, started at wide receiver. He had two balls thrown to him by Peoples, but both passes were broken up.

“It was real fun to play receiver. I think it’s going to help me ease into playing at Hinds,” Prentiss said. “I can play receiver, defensive back and return punts and I did all three this week.”

The South finished with 392 yards of total offense compared to the North’s 124.


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