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Class 5A All-State: Dowdell, Irving & many others represent “Southern Six”

December 10, 2022: Mississippi All-Stars Dante Dowdell (Picayune) (3) carries, fending off an Alabama defender with a stiff arm during the 2022 Mississippi-Alabama High School All-Star game at Hancock-Whitney Stadium, Mobile, Alabama. Photo: Bobby McDuffie/228 Sports

Players from South Mississippi, many from the “Southern Six”, dominated the Class 5A All-State Teams as recently announced by the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

Picayune tailback Dante Dowdell, the Mr. Football in Class 5A, was also named the Overall Most Valuable Player in that classification and as the top offensive performer overall.

Dowdell signed with the University of Oregon on Wednesday. He helped lead Picayune to back-to-back Class 5A state championships. Over the past two seasons, Dowdell has rushed for 5,301 yards and 65 touchdowns. This year he accounted for 2,165 rushing yards on 265 carries and recorded 36 touchdowns from his tailback spot.

He is coming off an appearance playing for his home state in the annual Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Football Classic, and he along with Gautier quarterback Kaden Irving just played in the prestigious U.S. Army Bowl at “The Star” in Frisco, Texas which is the world headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys. Dowdell ran for over 100 yards in that game and Irving threw a touchdown pass.

October 14, 2022: Gautier Kaden Irving (12) scrambles for yardage during the Gautier versus Vancleave game at Vancleave, Mississippi. Photo: Bobby McDuffie/228 Sports

Irving was named the first-team all-state quarterback. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Irving is one of just a few prep football players in the state of Mississippi ever to throw for over 10,000 yards and 100 touchdowns in his playing career.

During his senior season, Irving guided the Gators to their first-ever appearance in a South State championship game, as Gautier faced off with Dowdell and the Maroon Tide in the Class 5A contest. Irving, an Ole Miss baseball signee, completed 62 percent of his passes this season going 258-for-420 for 3,953 yards and 46 touchdowns while averaging almost 16 yards per completion. He also rushed for 462 yards and another 17 touchdowns, as he accounted for almost 4,500 yards of total offense and 63 touchdowns.

A total of fifteen players from the “Southern Six: were honored for their play this season with all-state status.


MHSAA CLASS 5A MHSAA All-State teams

Coach of the Year: Cody Stogner, Picayune

Overall/Offensive Player of the Year: Dante Dowdell, RB, Sr., Picayune

Defensive Player of the Year: Kamarion Franklin, DE, Jr., Lake Cormorant

October 14, 2022: Vancleave John Peterson (1) scores a touchdown during the Gautier versus Vancleave game at Vancleave, Mississippi. Photo: Bobby McDuffie/228 Sports

First Team Offense

Kaden Irving, QB, Sr., Gautier

John Peterson, RB, Sr., Vancleave

Malik Montgomery, RB, Jr., Vicksburg

Kahnen Daniels, RB, Jr., West Point

Ayden Williams, WR, Sr., Ridgeland

A.J. Phillips, WR, Sr., Gautier

Dillon Alfred, WR, So., Gautier

Casey Tynes, OL, Sr., George County

DeQuarious White, OL, Sr., Holmes County Central

Seth Ross, OL, Sr., Lafayette

Malachi Breland, OL, Sr., Laurel

Malik Ellis, OL, Sr., Laurel

Chris Davis, ATH, Jr., Picayune

John Parker Hancock, PK, So., Neshoba Central

October 21, 2022: Gautier Aaron Phillips (10) runs the ball during the East Central versus Gautier game at Vaughn-Wallace Stadium in Gautier, Mississippi. Photo: Bobby McDuffie/228 Sports
October 7, 2022: Picayune Chris Davis (6) returns a kick during the East Central versus Picayune game at Picayune, Mississippi. Photo: Bobby McDuffie/228 Sports

First Team Defense

Zavion Coleman, DE, Sr., Picayune

Jamonte Waller, DE, Jr., Picayune

Caleb Bryant, DL, Sr., Vicksburg

Chris Brown, DL, Sr., Callaway

Amarion Tyson, LB, Jr., Picayune

Alkerion Hopkins, LB, Sr., Wayne County

Tabias Hinton, LB, Sr., Hattiesburg

Tommy Kelly, LB, Sr., Provine

Jaleel Fleming, DB, Sr., Vicksburg

J.D. Kelly., DB, Sr., Vicksburg

Malolm Boykin, SS, Sr., Hattiesburg

Elijah Ruffin, FS, Sr., Neshoba Central

Brayden Mills, P, Sr., Wayne County

Jordan Gentry, KR, Sr., Florence

Ryder Burns, LS, Sr., Lake Cormorant

December 10, 2022: Mississippi All-Stars Zavion Coleman (Picayune) (99) during the 2022 Mississippi-Alabama High School All-Star game at Hancock-Whitney Stadium, Mobile, Alabama. Photo: Bobby McDuffie/228 Sports

Second Team Offense

Duece Knight, QB, So., George County

Jay Reed, RB, Sr., Lafayette

Mehki Gaddis, RB, So., Neshoba Central

Dillon Brown, RB, Sr., Hattiesburg

Michael Williams, WR, Sr., Natchez

Makyi Reed-Jones, WR, Jr., Lafayette

Nick Taylor, WR, Sr., Cleveland Central

Jeffrey Allan Grimme, OL, Sr., Vancleave

Tajon Smith, OL, Sr., West Point

Elijah Baker, OL, Jr., Hattiesburg

Joey Anthony, OL, Jr., Callaway

Tyrese Erby, OL, Sr., Columbus

Kadarius Wade, ATH, Sr., Callaway

Irianna Evans, PK, Sr., George County

George County offensive lineman Casey Tynes at the Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game. Photo: Bobby McDuffie/228 Sports

Second Team Defense

Angel McGee, DE, Sr., Gautier

Mason Jenkins, DE, Sr., West Jones

Joseph Head, DL, Sr., Holmes County Central

Montrayvious Carter, DL, Sr., Canton

Monyah Boykin, LB, Sr., Gautier

Jhace Mallard, LB, Sr., West Point

Jeremy Porter, LB, Sr., Laurel

Beau Holley, LB, Sr., Neshoba Central

Kylan Egerson, DB, Sr., Lafayette

Hemyur Naji, DB, Sr., Columbus

Tamarus McGee, SS, Sr., Canton

Octavius Pernell, FS, Sr., Holmes County Central

Will Dabney, P, Sr., Lafayette

Zywan Lacey, KR, Sr., Columbus

Tytan Edmonson, LS, Jr., Florence


Written by Curtis Rockwell

Curtis has almost three decades of experience at four different daily newspapers across South Mississippi, specializing in Sports and live Music.


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