Both Caleb Turrentine and I got to spend some time in Montgomery last week for the AHSAA North-South All-Star week, and it was definitely a sight to be seen.
I truly believe the week should get more attention as the best of the best rising seniors are put to the test in eight sports. We were in luck this year as Tallapoosa and Elmore counties were represented in a vast majority of these games. In a few of them, local athletes took the spotlight as well. Benjamin Russell’s Brett Pitts was named MVP for the South team after shining in the baseball game and Holtville’s Brooke Cooper had the game-winning hit for the South’s softball team in Game 2.
Caleb and I also got to catch up with several of those athletes, and you can hear what they had to say on this week’s episode of Inside the Lines Podcast which is available on our TPI websites, Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
But the heart of this week’s podcast episode is a debate about the AHSAA North-South All-Star game. It’s the only sport during all-star week that isn’t dedicated to rising seniors; instead, it is open to only student-athletes who have already graduated.
Because the idea is to get the best of the best football players around the state, most of those who are invited are already committed to college. And because the game is so late in the year, the vast majority of those players have either already reported to their college campuses or are going to report within the next few weeks and don’t want to risk injury.
That means the North-South rosters become not the top choices but the second or third choices from the best players around Alabama. And that is not intended as an offensive statement toward those who do play in the game; as Caleb says during the podcast, even if you are the third or fourth string “best” in the entire state, you are still pretty good and deserve to be in an all-star game.
But knowing that makes the game lose some of its luster.
Even coaches at the North-South game know this. Dadeville coach Richard White headed up the South team this year and had to make several roster changes in the final week before the game.
So, this week, Caleb and I delve into a discussion of how to change it. Listen to the full episode to hear our predictions and answer along with our game of “Would You Rather” sports edition.
Also, while Caleb and I both think there needs to be some changes made to the North-South football game, there were certainly some local bright spots. Tallassee’s Trent Cochran-Gill led the South in total tackles and Benjamin Russell’s Kobi Crabb had a play that ultimately changed the game in the South’s favor.
And North-South provides more than just the chance for fans to see some of the top talent from around the state. In the case of the football game, it gives athletes one last chance to represent their teams on a big stage. Crabb called it an honor to do this for BRHS, and we hear from him on this week’s podcast.