Alabama HS Junior All Star Game A Success

The North defeated the South 7-3 in the first junior All-Star game played in December for Alabama high school football players.

Troy, Ala.–-The first Alabama High School Junior All-Star game went off without a hitch on Tuesday at Movie Gallery Stadium and featured some of the state's top talent for the 2006 class. Among the players that have already made a name for themselves were linemen Andre Smith and Bart Eddins as well as receiver Terrell Zachary, but several other players will be on the minds of recruiting fans this time next year when they're the hot names in Alabama.

Eddins and Smith were matched up quite a bit during Tuesday's game.

Among those is running back/safety Eugene Sowell. The younger brother of Auburn linebacker Mayo Sowell, Eugene is a 5-11, 200 speedster that has the size and strength to play on either side of the ball at the next level. Although he didn't have a big game against a tough South defense on Tuesday, he says the experience is one he'll remember fondly after his team won a 7-3 struggle.

"All in all it was a real good experience," Sowell says. "I was surrounded by great athletes and other people that can make plays. Being surrounded by people that can make plays, everything comes together. We had a great team and a great defense. They played a great game. This is just how it feels being around all-stars. Everything goes quick and it's faster. You have to be on your toes to keep going."

While most players are already looking forward to the recruiting process, Sowell thinks a little differently. Able to watch as his older brother fought with a decision until close to signing day, Sowell says that he's not ready for what is likely coming his way next year.

"Not so much," Sowell says. "I have seen it before. I know he had a lot of things to think about, but for the most part going to the next level and hopefully being able to play at a great university feels real good."

A player that will be getting his first taste of the recruiting process is standout receiver Tim Hawthorne from Homewood. One of the top receivers in Alabama this past season, Hawthorne led the Patriots to the Class 5A title by catching 80 passes for over 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season.

After catching a pass in the backfield, Hawthorne tries to make a move despite being cornered by a couple of North defenders.

Unlike most of the players at the game, the 6-2, 200-pounder with 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash says that more than anything he's just looking for a day off after a long season of football.

"It was fun," Hawthorne says. "I had a blast. There were a lot of great athletes. It's the top 72 players in the state. I had fun. It was worth it and I wouldn't trade it for anything. It has been 17 weeks and I haven't had a break. I'm going to get a well-deserved rest over the Christmas holidays. This did help me by getting an extra game and competing against the best of the best, but now I need some time off."

Hawthorne was joined in the game by quarterback Austin Hubbard and offensive lineman David Ross. Hubbard has a knack for making the big play at the right time and has good arm strength. His stock should continue to rise throughout the next 12 months as teams become more familiar with him. Ross is a solid player at 6-3, 275 and has the ability to be one of the top interior line prospects in Alabama next season. He was impressive in the all-star game and keyed an explosive Homewood attack this year. Hawthorne says that his season wouldn't have been possible without everyone pitching in for a common goal of a championship.

"It's not just me, you have to give credit to the offensive line, the quarterback and the running backs at my school," Hawthorne says. "I worked hard during the summer going into the season and it paid off during the season. My coach kept staying on me during the season and I never got cocky. I told myself I wanted to get better every game and that's what I did."

Other standouts on Tuesday were Prattville linebacker Tim Rawlinson and safety J.D. Douglas, wide receiver Jeffrey Anderson from Southside High in Selma and defensive end Raven Gray from Enterprise.

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