CLINTON — Austin Davis may have been West Lauderdale’s best-kept secret on the football field the past couple of years.

But Davis was no secret here Thursday among those on the selection committee for the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Classic.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder who is likely headed to the University of Southern Mississippi to play baseball and football — Davis was one of two quarterbacks selected to represent the Magnolia State in its annual battle against Alabama.

The Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Classic is scheduled for June 2 in Mobile, Ala.

Davis put up solid numbers for West, but was overshadowed at times the last couple of years in the Knights run-first attack.

“Austin always had the ability, the potential and the gift,” West Lauderdale coach Stan McCain said. “We just didn’t showcase him in the way he could have been showcased ... not with the style that we play. But when we had to have him step up and make the big play, he was always able.”

Davis was a steady leader for West who connected on 71-of-121 passing attempts for 1,015 yards and 11 touchdowns — with just two interceptions — last season. With deceptive speed for a man his size, he also ran for six touchdowns and 351 yards on just 55 attempts.

Davis was one of just three players from The Meridian Star’s coverage area who were selected to represent the Mississippi team — with Heidelberg linemen Rashad McGill and Joshua Stephens the other two.

“They can play. No doubt about it,” McCain said of the Oilers’ duo — both of whom signed last week to play at Jackson State. “They’re two of the better guys we saw, and we’ve been watching film since December on all these kids we chose.”

Most of the big-name players from across the state were selected, including linebacker, Ole Miss signee and Player of the Year Chris Strong of South Panola and running back Robert Elliott of Okolona, who signed with Mississippi State.

But one local star who was missing from the roster was Kemper County’s Marcus Green — The Star’s 2006 All-Area Player of the Year and another MSU signee. Green, injured on two occasions while playing basketball this season, will not be able to participate in the all-star game and could be facing his second surgery since December.

The Mississippi team will be coached by Leslie Peters of East Marion and includes plenty of local flavor, including McCain — who was a coach in the Bernard Blackwell North/South All-Star game a year ago.

“I’m looking forward to it, but I’m glad this part of it’s over with,” McCain said. “We’ve been watching film ... talking to coaches and college coaches ... I almost feel like a recruiter.”

Union coach Brad Breland is also an assistant on the Mississippi squad, as is Louisville head coach Brad Peterson.

Eight area standouts were selected for the Bernard Blackwell all-star game, which will be held July 19 at Mississippi College in Clinton.

Chosen for the North squad were West Lauderdale’s James Siefker and Sam Dulaney and Northeast Lauderdale’s T.J. Ballou.

Siefker, a 6-foot-3, 315-pound Pearl River signee, and Dulaney — a 6-foot, 230-pounder — were mainstays for the Knights’ line and two-time all-area selections.

Ballou, meanwhile, caught 32 passes for 627 yards and 10 touchdowns and was a big threat on both sides of the football and on special teams — totaling 21 touchdowns for the Trojans.

The Wayne County trio of Donta Chambers, Mark Gray and John Jones were selected for the South squad, as were Meridian’s Isaiah Lewis and Clarkdale’s Chris Skinner.

Lewis, a 6-foot-1, 246-pounder, was called “probably the most versatile” offensive lineman at MHS and was selected for the all-star game as a defensive end. Skinner, a 5-foot-9, 190-pounder, was a workhorse with 1,639 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Bulldogs.

Chambers led Wayne County with 136 total tackles, while Jones and Gray were mainstays for the Class 4A state champion War Eagles.

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