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Ole Brook’s Clopton, Allen to lead South All-Star team

In the heat of summer, December 22nd  seems to be far away but not for Brookhaven football coaches Tommy Clopton and Chaz Allen. Clopton has been named head coach for the South and Allen is the No. 1 assistant for the Mississippi Association of Coaches Bernard Blackwell Classic. 

     The game kicks off at noon, at Gulfport’s Milner Stadium.. It comes one week after the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic in Montgomery, Ala.

     “It’s a good opportunity for me and Chaz,” said Clopton. “It’s good publicity for our school, too. We are looking forward to it.”

     Clopton was named head football coach and athletic director at BHS in late April. He replaced Wade Henderson who resigned after one year a the helm. Henderson was hired last month to serve as Terry High School’s head coach.

     Clopton is starting his 15th year in the coaching field. He coached the last eight years at Wesson. He said he has been encouraged by the turnout for the offseason workouts that begin at 6 a.m., Monday-Thursday. He said the workouts averaged 93 players per day the first week.

     This is the third time for Clopton to coach in an all-star game and the first time for Allen who was promoted to defensive coordinator when the coaching changes took place. Clopton coached in the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges All-Star Game in 2001 when he was an assistant at East Central. In 2008, he served as an assistant in the MAC’s North/South contest.

     Allen, a 1998 BHS graduate, played linebacker on the 1997 Panther squad that finished 12-1 under Greg Wall. They lost to Northeast Jones in the Class 4A state playoffs.

     Allen played two seasons at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and two more at Belhaven College, working as a linebacker and defensive end.

     “It’s a great experience and I’m looking forward to it,” said Allen. He will coach the defensive line in the all-star game.

     Other South coaches are Ron Rushing of Natchez Cathedral, Anthony Dillon of East Marion, Eric Collins of Pearl River Central, Brian Rials of Seminary and James Herrington of Jefferson County. The scout coach is Matt Caldwell of Taylorsville.

     Serving as North head coach is Anthony Jenkins of Hernando. Assistants are Michael Gray of Baldwyn, Tony Vance of Charleston, Tyler Peterson of Kosciusko, Nick Nester of Lake Comorant, Tyrone Shorter of Noxubee County and Roy Bolden of Hernando. Scout coach is Johnny Hill of Oxford.

     The Mississippi team’s coaching staff is led by Junior Graham of Eupora. Assistant coaches are Demaris Mitchell of Shelby Broad Street, Paul Dees of  Ethel, Judd Boswell of Clinton, Tate Hanna of Nanih Waiya, Kenny Burton of Ridgeland and Jamie Mitchell of Starkville. Scout coach is Lance Pogue of South Panola. Working as administrative coach is Howard McNeil.

     “You have a short amount of time to work with the kids,” said Clopton. “You want to have them ready to play.

     “We hope to have several players in the games,” continued Clopton. “You can meet with them before time.”

     Clopton said his first priority is winning a region championship and coaching the Panthers in the state playoffs. They were state 5A runners-up to West Point in 2010.

     Clopton said players for the Alabama-Mississippi Game will be selected first, followed by selection of the North-South players. He said after the rosters are chosen, there will be a few informal weekend practice sessions prior to the game . There will be several on-site practice sessions during the week leading up to the games.

     The official all-star selection meeting usually takes place in mid October.

     He said the North/South Game provides more open offenses and defenses compared to the Alabama-Mississippi Classic. “Now we can operate out of the spread on offense and do some stunting on defense.”