Local all-stars shine for South squad
Chilton County’s Taylor Hughes and Isabella’s Blake Lawley separated themselves from a group of outstanding players during this year’s North-South All-Star Football Game.
Hughes was chosen by teammates as the offensive captain, while Lawley was picked by his peers to lead the defense. A total of 38 players from dozens of schools were on the team’s roster.
“The players voted on who the captains would be,” said Tony Hughes, Taylor’s dad. “Undoubtedly, during the week, they (Taylor and Blake) had made a good impression on their peers. Both our Chilton County guys distinguished themselves very, very much. The community should be proud of them.”
Hughes and Lawley played for the South team, which lost 14-7.
A 20-yard run by Hughes set up the South’s only touchdown—when Hughes found Loachapoka receiver Quindravius Richardson from a couple of yards out to tie the game 7-7.
Hughes was awarded for the drive by being named the South’s Most Valuable Player. He was 16-of-21 passing for 96 yards and the sole TD.
“I was surprised (on being named MVP), but I thought I had a pretty decent game,” Hughes said. “It was a lot of fun.”
The elder Hughes said Lawley, who couldn’t be reached for comment Monday, had several key tackles.
Midfield quarterback Justin Evans led the North team, rushing for 64 yards on 12 carries and passing for 58 yards and a touchdown on a 4-of-7 performance.
Evans connected with Midfield teammate Jamarcus Nelson from 37-yards out for the North’s first touchdown with 1:35 left in the first half for a 7-0 lead.
Hughes’ touchdown for the South came almost midway through the third quarter.
The North responded, sparked by the running of Evans, and drove to the go-ahead touchdown, a 10-play, 65-yard march that culminated with Antavio Smith’s 2-yard run. The Gadsden City running back took a handoff from Evans and out-raced two defenders to the left pylon with 8:41 remaining in the game.
Jamarious Crusoe, the third Midfield player in the game, and Denzel Malone-Huff of Gadsden City came up with two key interceptions in the final minutes to seal the win.
The South’s second quarterback was Greenville’s Ryan Smith, who will also be Hughes’ roommate and teammate at Huntingdon College this fall. Smith was also 4-of-11 for the South for 53 yards.
Hughes and Smith combined for a total of 149 passing yards on the night.
Head coach for the North was Bob Godsey of Hartselle while Randy Ragsdale of Trinity was the South head coach.
The North’s win was its 22nd in the 52-game series. The South now leads 28-22-2 in the classic that began in 1948. In the 14 years since All-Star Sports Week started in 1997, the South holds an 8-6 advantage.
The North finished All-Star Week by winning softball, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ basketball, and boys’ soccer competition in addition to the football win. The South won the girls’ soccer contest, and the baseball doubleheader was canceled due to rain.