By Molly Seales
Each year for football and other sports, the MSAIS coaches select outstanding seniors to play in the all-star game. It is a high honor to be chosen for this team because players are chosen from all classes from 1A-6A. This year Riverdale Academy had two players chosen for the team: Parker Almond and Paul Messenger.
Both of these players put up outstanding performances this season on offense and on defense. During this Cinderella season, #2 Parker Almond had 40 receptions for 969 yards and 13 touchdowns. He had 3 punt returns for touchdowns. He had a total of 1,327 total yards for the year. #4 Paul Messenger had 169 carries for 1183 yards and 15 touchdowns. He had a total of 1,224 total yards for the year. Both of them did their part on defense as well. Parker had 42 total tackles, including 5 tackles for loss and 1 sack. He had 5 interceptions, and he returned 3 of them for touchdowns. He also had 6 pass deflections, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery. Paul had a total of 87 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 1 interception.
The Class 1A-3A All Star Game was held on December 4 at 2:00 p.m. at Jackson Prep in Jackson, Mississippi. Due to basketball practice and an upcoming tournament, Parker opted out of playing in the all-star game to focus on basketball, where he is a starting guard and leader of the team. Paul reported to Jackson on Wednesday, December 2, to begin preparing for the game. His parents, Clay and Ashlie Messenger, and Grandmother Mary Almond made the trip on Friday to cheer him on. Paul was on the white team and wore #8 for the game. His coaches chose him for the honor of being defensive captain of his team for the 1A-3A all-star game. His coach Jared Smelser said, “Coaches have called me telling me it was a pleasure to coach him and how great of a kid he is.” During the game, Paul played many quality minutes at middle linebacker and full back. His stellar senior season ended in one final win, as the white team defeated the blue team in a thrilling 13-9 victory.
After the All-Star Game Paul’s mother Ashlie posted on Facebook, “White team wins 13-9! What a way to wrap up Paul’s senior year of football. He was the defensive captain for his team and played quite a bit of offense too. As we walked away one of his teammates called out, ‘See ya in basketball!’ and just like that, they’ll be opponents again. He’ll never forget this experience, nor will we. So thankful!”
The Riverdale Rebel fans will really miss watching Paul and Parker, as well as seniors Witt Almond and Brennan Edie, on the field next year. Congratulations to all four of these seniors on a spectacular final season of high school football.