MOBILE — Orange Beach’s Chris Pearson provided a 62-yard pick-six and a 34-yard punt return for a touchdown to win MVP honors and help the South All-Stars down the North All-Stars 42-7 …
MOBILE — Orange Beach’s Chris Pearson provided a 62-yard pick-six and a 34-yard punt return for a touchdown to win MVP honors and help the South All-Stars down the North All-Stars 42-7 Friday night at Hancock Whitney Stadium.
Fairhope’s Caden Creel threw for a 19-yard touchdown pass to help the South squad earn a 14-0 halftime lead after he pulled out a spinning scramble to extend the drive. The hosts took over in the second half where Pearson scored his touchdowns on consecutive possessions to build the lead.
“I just wanted to go out here and show how good I am in front of some of the best players from the North. I just wanted to show out one last time,” Pearson said.
Pearson also led the team with nine tackles and is set to announce his college commitment tomorrow afternoon.
He wasn’t the only one who showed out, but both he and Creel said the team’s quick bond helped the squad despite only a handful of practices during the week.
“I think that's what the difference was in the game was our team bond is really close. You look on our sideline, we're all standing up, hyping each other up, the offense is watching the defense,” Creel said. “You look at their sideline, they're all sitting down, didn't really look like a team.”
.@poodie1szn AGAIN! Now a punt return for the @OrangeBeachFB standout who is ready to make his college commitment tomorrow afternoon. South All-Stars leading 42-0 after three quarters #ALHSFB pic.twitter.com/XYGCf14cz0— Gulf Coast Media Sports (@GCMSportsAL) December 17, 2022
South makes statement with big win
With that team bond, the entire South All-Star team extended its overall lead in the series to 33-29-2 while making a loud statement.
“I feel like the South doesn't get enough respect whenever it comes to the playoffs and stuff so getting to come here and show them what the South is about, it means everything to us,” Creel said. “We put everything on the line so it means a lot to us.”
The win also set the all-time scoring record as the 2022 South squad etched its name in the history books.
“The 42 points set a record for most points by a winning team in the series which was first played in Tuscaloosa in 1948,” David Holtsford wrote for the AHSAA. “It is also the only time a team has scored more than 40 points in the 64-game history of the North-South Classic. The previous scoring record (37) was set by the South in a 37-33 win over the North in the 2011 game.”
Baldwin County connections strong
The contest also meant a lot for two of the coaches on the staff, Foley’s Deric Scott and Spanish Fort’s Chase Smith, who got to share the week and win with two of their players each. Scott served as the defensive coordinator and Smith was the offensive line coach.
“It was unbelievable. To get a chance to end out your high school careers and get a win like this, just being on the sideline with those guys means a lot to me and means a lot to them,” Smith said.
“It was just unbelievable to have that experience for Foley to be represented in there. And our guys went out there and played well so to be a representation of Foley was really, really outstanding,” Scott said.
“Feels great,” Smith said of the win. “Anytime you win in December, it feels great.”
“It was good to do something different, get out of your comfort zone and learn something new from a coach, some stuff that I might see in the future,” Creel said of the new offense. It's good to just learn as much as you can.”
“He's an outstanding player, and we're thankful he's on our side,” Scott said of Pearson.
“I had seen it, I baited him. I just waited right there the flat so I saw it and just had to take it to the crib,” Pearson said of his pick-six.
Creel finished 6-of-11 passing with 81 yards and a touchdown to go along with 9 carries for 25 rushing yards.
Daphne’s Stephon Blackshear caught 1 pass for 2 yards and Spanish Fort’s Jake Godfrey caught 1 pass as well as returned one punt and kickoff each for 24 return yards.
Foley’s AJ Prim finished with 4 total tackles and Baldwin County’s DJ Jackson had 1 tackle and 1 pass breakup.
Pearson finished with the 9 total tackles and interception as well as returned 5 punts for a total of 72 return yards.
Also representing Baldwin County was Foley’s Cameron Schultz on the offensive line and Spanish Fort’s Yorell Williams on the defensive line.