From The Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — Alabama’s All-Stars ended a three-year drought Saturday afternoon with a convincing 19-7 win over the visiting Mississippi All-Stars in the 34th Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic at Cramton Bowl Saturday afternoon.
Alabama, coached by Steve Mask of St. Paul’s Episcopal, used a big-play defense and time-consuming offense to pile up 357 total yards to Mississippi’s 133. The Alabama secondary, led by Alabama’s game MVP Ga’Quincy McKinstry of Pinson Valley, had an All-Star Classic record. McKinstry recorded two interceptions to match Saraland defensive back Terrente Hinton. Auburn’s Noah Warren also grabbed an interception for the Alabama all-stars, who broke a three-game skid to improve their series record to 23-11 overall.
Those five INTs were returned for 120 yards.
Alabama took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter when quarterback Will Crowder of Gardendale found big-play receiver Christian Lewis of Pleasant Grove in the right corner of the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown to cap a five-play, 63-yard drive at the 1:33 mark. Alabama, which 238 total yards in the first half, took a 10-0 lead late in the second quarter when Drake Tabor of Spain Park booted a 25-yard field goal to cap a 14-play, 82-yard drive with 1:07 left before intermission.
McKinstry, a 5-star Alabama commit, turned in the most exciting play of the game on what was unofficially the last play of the first half when he intercepted a Mississippi pass at the Alabama 3-yard line, made an incredible spin move to evade two tacklers and then sprinted 97 yards for a touchdown. The score was called back on a blind-side block penalty and Alabama got one untimed down for the effort to end the half with the 10-point lead.
McKinstry also had two catches in the first half for 51 yards – including a 43-yarder for the longest reception in the game. He finished with three catches for a team-leading 76 yards. He also had 26 yards in interception returns officially, netting no yards on his 97-yard return due to a penalty and sprinting 26 yards before stepping out of bounds in the final minute to end Mississippi’s last possession.
Mississippi got on the board midway through the fourth when Keyzhawn Lawrence shot free for a 94-yard scoop-and-score that cut Alabama’s lead to 13-7.
Alabama answered right back when Crowder went to Lewis for the pair’s second scoring connection of the game. Lewis made a spectacular grab and tight-roped the end zone line for an 11-yard TD.
Hewitt-Trussville’s Armoni Goodwin led all rushers with 68 yards on 11 carries.
Alabama had 19 first downs, 61 offensive plans and kept the ball for 28:35 of the game’s 48 minutes. Crowder finished 9-of-12 passing for 152 yards and two TDs. Trey Higgins of Oxford was 6-of-9 for 95 yards as Alabama finished 15-of-21 overall for 247 yards.