Foley QB leads South to All-Star victory

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 29, 2005

TROY — Foley quarterback Roosevelt Byrd was prepared to split playing time with South squad teammate and Prattville High quarterback Larry Smith.

But when Smith suffered a high ankle sprain early, that created many more snaps – and opportunities – for Byrd to shine.

The quarterback responded with 190 all-purpose yards and was named the South’s Most Valuable Player in his team’s 16-7 victory over the North squad last Friday at Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium.

The game featured players who had just completed their junior seasons. It gave them a chance to showcase their talents and an early start on next season.

Players and coaches said all week that winning wasn’t the top priority this week – but once the game started both sides played hard in a game dominated by both defenses.

&uot;I had fun all week,&uot; Byrd said. &uot;It was fun meeting a lot of these players. We came together as a team.&uot;

South head coach Terry Curtis called the week a great experience.

The North’s only score came early in the second quarter. Facing third-and-6 at the South 43-yard line, North quarterback Zach Smith broke loose on a 41-yard scramble to the 2-yard line. Dennis King scored on the next play to cap a six-play, 59-yard drive.

The North looked like it would add to its lead quickly. On first down on its ensuing possession, Byrd was hit by Kerry Murphy and fumbled. Josh Lewis recovered for the North at the South 24-yard line.

But on the next play, Hoover running back Dennis King took a sweep around left end. South defender Eltoro Freeman stripped the ball, which bounced straight to Terrence Thomas of Eufaula. Thomas picked it up and raced 70 yards for a South touchdown that tied the game with 8:19 left in the first half. Freeman finished with six solo tackles and the forced fumble.

&uot;If you play a game, it’s important to win,&uot; said Freeman, who plays for Benjamin Russell. &uot;Real important.&uot;

The South broke the 7-7 halftime tie on its first possession of the second half. Byrd gained five yards on third-and-3 at his own 37. On the next play, he went deep for Houston Academy’s Stanley Jones. The pass was underthrown and North defensive back Frederick Gray of Gadsden High was in position to break it up. But Jones came back for the ball and stepped in front of Gray and made the catch around the 15-yard line. He also shook off Gray’s attempted tackle and ran into the end zone for the touchdown. The play covered 58 yards. Harris Brown’s extra point was missed.

Harris Brown sealed the outcome with 4:30 remaining when he drilled a 20-yard field goal. That kick capped a nine-play, 67-yard drive that was its longest of the afternoon in time of possession and number of plays.

Byrd finished with 7 completions in 15 attempts for 159 yards, including the 58-yard touchdown pass to Jones.