Mars Hill Bible came out firing on all cylinders, opening the game with a 65-yard touchdown run by Colt Smith straight up the middle, and the Panther offense never looked back from there.
Smith, who was named the 1A championship game MVP after breaking multiple Super 7 records, had a phenomenal day with 17 rushes for 168 yards and 3 TD, adding in 3 catches for 63 yards and a score. On defense, Smith had 17 tackles plus an interception returned for a touchdown and three pass breakups.
Early in the game, after a three and out from Linden, Mars Hill took advantage again, going 68 yards in 8 plays to show they can sustain a drive as well for another touchdown (although the extra point was blocked).
Mars Hill led 13-0 after the first quarter.
With all the talk about how great Mars Hill’s offense had been all year, their defense stepped up and played huge in the first half, holding Linden on multiple 1st and goals to no points.
Linden did eventually get on the board late in the first half, but Mars Hill was able to answer with a few seconds left to lead 26-6 at halftime.
After a pick 6 early for Linden quarterback Graderius Brown, he was able to engineer a long drive to get a touchdown on the board for Linden to make it 32-12.
The end of the third quarter got kind of crazy with back to back scores from Mars Hill then Linden, but Mars Hill was able to keep the margin large, improving it to 53-26 before the game finished.
This is Mars Hill’s first state title, but only the fifth year that the school has played varsity football. After making the playoffs for the first time last year in Class 2A, they dropped down in reclassification to 1A and won a state title.
Smith broke three 1A Super 7 records in this game, scoring 30 points on 5 touchdowns plus getting 17 tackles on defense.
Quarterback Joseph Hanson was no slouch either, going 7/9 for 124 yards and a touchdown, including 8 carries for 93 yards with seven tackles and an interception on defense as well.
Linden QB Graderius Brown was 22/44 for 292 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He also had 22 carries for 79 yards. On defense, Brown had 9 tackles including two tackles for loss.
Other records broken in this game according to the AHSAA:
Most Passing Yards: (292): Graderius Brown, Linden vs Mars Hill, 2018
Most Pass Attempts (44): Graderius Brown, Linden vs Mars Hill, 2018
Most Pass Completions (22): Graderius Brown, Linden vs Mars Hill, 2018
Most TD Passes (4): Graderius Brown, Linden vs Mars Hill, 2018 (Tied)
Most Pass Receptions (13): Kevin Green, Linden vs Mars Hill, 2018
Most Receiving Yards (207): Kevin Green, Linden vs Mars Hill, 2018
Most TD Receptions (3): Kevin Green, Linden vs Mars Hill, 2018
Longest TD pass Reception (85): Kevin Green from Graderius Brown, Linden vs Mars Hill, 2018 (Also most of any classification in Super 7)
Most Total Yards (Both Teams): 897 – Mars Hill vs. Linden, 2018
Most First Downs: (22) Mars Hill vs. Linden, 2018
Most Total Yards: (492) Mars Hill vs. Linden, 2018
Most Yards Passing: (292) Linden vs. Mars Hill, 2018
Most Pass Attempts: (44) Linden vs. Mars Hill, 2018
Most Pass Completions (22) Linden vs. Mars Hill, 2018
Most Offensive Plays: (77) Linden vs. Mars Hill, 2018