By Robert Wilson
Greenville Christian School senior quarterback D.J. Smith – the Mississippi Gatorade Football Player of the Year – finished his outstanding high school football senior season with an MVP performance.
Smith completed 11 of 16 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns and ran six times for 23 yards to earn MVP honors and lead the North to a 21-17 victory over the South Thursday in the first Magnolia State All-Star Game at East Central Community College in Decatur.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Smith passed for 2,516 passing yards and 37 TDs and ran for 940 rushing yards and 14 TDs and led Greenville Christian to a 12-1 record, its second straight MAIS Class 3A state title and a No. 74 national ranking by MaxPreps. Greenville Christian’s only loss was to Collins Hill (Ga.) High, ranked No. 12 nationally by MaxPreps. Smith accounted for 320 yards, five TDs and three 2-point conversions in a 46-8 victory over Canton Academy in the state title game.
Smith completed TD passes to Jamarquez Melton of West Point High and Smith’s high school teammate and Louisville signee Chris Bell to take a 14-0 lead. Bell had a game-high six catches for 74 yards. Dicenzo Miller, Jr. of Kemper County High – the South Offensive Top Performer with 85 yards on 13 carries – scored on a 5-yard run to cut the lead to 14-7. Dekari Johnson of Leflore County High returned a punt 82 yards for a TD to push the North lead to 21-7. Quarterback Marcus Beamon of Philadelphia High completed a 67-yard TD pass to running back Dayan Bilbo of Vancleave for a TD for the South to cut the lead to 21-14 at halftime.
The South held the North scoreless in the second half and forced three fumbles – two by South Defensive Top Performer Max Walenta of Jackson Academy. Louie Gatlin of Jackson Prep made a field goal in the fourth quarter to cut the North lead to 21-17.
Running back A.J. Wren of Kirk Academy and running back Jay White of Cleveland Central were the North Offensive Top Performers. Defensive back Vamario McGee of Greenville Christian was the North Defensive Top Performer.