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Area stars dot Bernard Blackwell roster

By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
Feb. 1, 2001
The fact that five local high school football players were chosen for the Mississippi/Alabama Shrine Classic a couple of weeks ago apparently didn't hamper the area's chances Wednesday.
That's when the Mississippi Association of Coaches released the selections for the 52nd Annual Bernard Blackwell Classic, the state's oldest high school all-star football game that is slated for July 20 at Madison Central High School.
A total of nine players from The Meridian Star's coverage area were chosen for the North vs. South game, which already included four local coaches.
Louisville's Tony Stanford will guide the North team, and three of Stanford's Wildcats will be suiting up for him.
Linebacker Marquess Ledbetter heads the group of Louisville all-stars, which also includes Adrian Eiland and Ken Triplett.
Ledbetter racked up an impressive total of 134 tackles for the Wildcats this past season, when Louisville made it to the Class 4A North State championship game.
Stanford's assistant coaches for the all-star contest will include Jim Ray, the head man at Noxapater, as well as Noxubee County head coach M.C. Miller and Louisville assistant John Mullins.
Ray and Miller each had players chosen for the Bernard Blackwell contest, as well.
J.E. Haynes, one of the area's top utility stars who scored nearly every way possible for Noxapater the past two seasons, will be suiting up for the North as will high school teammate Ryan Smith, who is one of the two quarterbacks chosen for the North squad.
Representing Noxubee County will be 6-foot-6 tackle Johnathan Brandy.
There were also three area players chosen for the Blackwell contest on the South squad, including one from Meridian High.
That would be Eddie Moss, who was selected for the all-star tilt as a tight end. Moss wreaked havoc as a defensive tackle and later as a fullback for the Wildcats this past season, helping MHS to a 9-3 record and a berth in the Class 5A state playoffs.
He'll be joined on the South squad by area stars Cornell Blakley of Wayne County and John Williams of Forest.
Blakley was the centerpiece of the War Eagle defense that helped Wayne County to the Class 5A quarterfinals, where the Eagles lost to eventual state champion Moss Point.
Williams manned part of an offensive line for the Bearcats that opened gaping holes for the likes of Pete McBride and Mario Thomas. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder was also a member of the 1999 Class 3A state championship team at Forest.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at