North-South All-Star football game moving to Mobile’s new University of South Alabama stadium

North-South All-Star football game moving to Mobile’s new University of South Alabama stadium
The University of South Alabama's new Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile will be home to AHSAA's North-South All-Star Football Classic for the next three years. (University of South Alabama)

The Alabama High School Athletic Association’s oldest all-star game has found a new home.

The 62nd annual North-South All-Star Football Classic will be played at the University of South Alabama’s Hancock Whitney Stadium Dec. 18 in Mobile, said Jamie Lee, director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA). The 25,000-seat stadium, which opened this season, is the home of the USA Jaguars.

“We are thankful for the city (and county) of Mobile, the Mobile Sports Authority and the University of South Alabama for their interest and support of one of our premier events,” Lee said. “Several cities showed interest in the event, but Mobile rose above them all in order to support our student-athletes and coaches. We look forward to partnering with them the next three years.”

The contract includes 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Mobile was home to the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic from 1988 to 2010. AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said Mobile created a great experience for those contests.

“I am glad to see our North-South game moving to Mobile,” he said. “I coached in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game and saw firsthand what a great experience it was for the players and coaches.”

The AHSADCA, operating under the auspices of the AHSAA, manages the North-South All-Star game, which features two 37-member teams of current seniors. The South holds a 31-27-2 lead in the series.

The North-South Classic got its start in Tuscaloosa in 1948 and was played yearly through 1984. It was discontinued from 1985 through 1996 and brought back in 1997 during the AHSAA Summer Conference and AHSADCA All-Star Sports Week. It was played at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl from 1997 until 2004, then moved to December and played at Troy University’s Veterans Stadium in 2004 and 2005; moved to Alabama A&M University 2007-2010 as a summer game; returned to Cramton Bowl in 2011 and has been played there every year since.

The 61st game was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns this past summer. The game is to be moved to December beginning this year.

Some of the state’s top high school, college and professional football standouts have played in the North-South game, including Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan (1968), Auburn All-American receiver Terry Beasley (1968) and Green Bay Packers great Bart Starr (1952). Alabama All-American linebacker and NFL All-Pro Cornelius Bennett grabbed MVP honors in the 1983 game. Decatur High School teammates Joe Brewer and Bobby Golden earned MVP honors in the first game, played in 1948.

Kickoff is set for Friday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. WOTM TV and executive producer Vince Earley will coordinate the televise game over the AHSAA TV Network and live-stream over the NFHS Network.

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