Winston's McNeel leads North All-star to win
By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
Saturday, December 2, 2000
CLINTON On a night when the Mississippi Private School Association unveiled its first fireworks show, North quarterback Taylor McNeel from Winston Academy brought along a few of his own, leading his squad to a 23-12 victory over the South All-Stars in the 29th-annual MPSA All-Star Football Classic.
The game was played before approximately 3,500 rain-soaked fans at Robinson-Hale Stadium on the campus of Mississippi College and featured plenty of sloppiness due to the sloppy field conditions.
Both teams combined for 18 fumbles, with the North losing four and the South five. There were also 11 punts.
For the night, McNeel tallied a 10-of-17 effort for 194 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a handful of nifty first down runs.
Early on, however, the night looked like it would belong to the South team, who scored two quick touchdowns, behind the running of South Offensive MVP Jay Liles of Jackson Prep.
The first South score came as Liles ripped off a 24-yard TD jaunt to cap a five-play, 43-yard drive with 4:35 remaining in the first quarter. As was the case for most of the night, however, the PAT kick was blocked.
After a North punt was partially blocked, the South again got good field position. Liles, who finished with 140 yards rushing on 27 carries, again did the honors, this time bulling his way in from a yard out. The touchdown play came two snaps after a penalty aided the production.
But the two-point conversion pass failed and the score stood at 12-0 with 14:23 before the half.
That's when McNeel went to work, directing a seven-play, 87-yard output that was fueled by his getting the ball to Starkville's Will Prosser several times. He then executed a fake to perfection on a rollout, finding Marvell's Jacob Carroll for the 2-yard score at the 10:43 mark.
His two-point pass to Kemper's Wade Whitaker was no good.
Both teams continued the first half trading fumbles, missed plays and punts before McNeel hooked up with Wayne Blaylock of Carroll on a 17-yard TD strike with 1:19 left in the half. The extra-point by Pillow's Jay Jones was true, giving the North the slim 13-12 lead. That's the way it stayed until McNeel decided to get serious about running the ball as well.
He followed up a 10-yard toss to Prosser with a dazzling 20-yard ramble before pulling out the highlight reel material.
On the North's next snap, McNeel lofted a textbook 60-yard TD bomb to Pillow's Jacob Clark to give the North a commanding 20-12 lead with 8:31 to go in the third. The production was an impressive 93 yards in four plays through muddy terrain.
Jones added a 35-yard field goal with five minutes remaining to stamp down the win.
The North outgained the South in total offense 274-176 and secured 16 first downs to 13 for the Charlie Newton-coached squad.
Despite the loss, the South All-Stars still lead the series 17-12, but the North continued its recent dominance, taking the sixth win in the last seven tries.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.