All eyes in the Super 7 were on Bo Nix as he took the field for the first of what should be many games at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The Auburn commit came out playing well early to lead Pinson to a 12-3 lead at halftime. Nix was 13/16 for 211 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT at halftime.
Nix, the #1 rated dual threat QB in the country, ended the game going 25/35 for 306 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, plus 15 carries for 66 yards and a touchdown. Those three touchdowns ended up breaking the all-time touchdown record, giving him 161 in his career between Pinson Valley and Scottsboro.
Saraland actually started the scoring after Pinson fumbled the ball on their first drive. The Spartans went up 3-0 after a 32-yard field goal from Cole Robitzsch.
Nix answered with two touchdowns, one on the ground and one through the air. While up 12-3 under two minutes in the first half, Pinson decided to go for it on 4th and 1 in the red zone and converted on a 1-yard Nix keeper. Then two plays later, Nix threw a pass that bounced off a receivers hand and into the hands of Shawn Byrd from Saraland who returned it all the way to the 39.
Saraland then converted a long pass to set themselves up in good position, but after stalling out at the 22, Robitzsch missed a 39-yard field goal and Pinson took a 12-3 lead into the half.
Pinson Valley received the ball to start the second half. After both teams had drives stall out, Bo Nix threw a costly interception to Shawn Byrd again, and this time, Saraland was able to capitalize on the turnover, with McAlpine leading the drive down the field and eventually scoring on a 3-yard touchdown run to cut Pinson’s lead to 12-10.
On the ensuing drive for Pinson Valley, Bo Nix led a 10 play, 62 yard drive that saw him throw a 2-yard touchdown to Demarion Holloman. Saraland responded with a touchdown of their own as Nezat hooked up with Jay Williams for an 11-yard score.
After three straight scores, Pinson led 19-17 with 8:57 remaining.
Pinson then went 4 and out, giving Saraland the chance they needed to take the lead. However, three plays later, Nezat found a player from the wrong team in Kendall Thorton from Pinson Valley and he took it 46 yards the other way for a pick six to make it 26-17, which would be the final score.
Although Saraland fell, it was the best defensive performance against Pinson Valley by a 6A team this year. Shawn Byrd put up great defensive numbers with 13 tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble, one tackle for loss and also blocked two extra points from Pinson.
Rayshawn McAlpine led the way on offense for Saraland, rushing 28 times for 158 yards and a touchdown.
For Bo Nix though, the questions now turn to when he’ll be on this field wearing orange and blue. It was another great season and Super 7 performance as Pinson Valley won their second ever state title and second in a row, but with Gus Malzahn in attendance, fans across the country were paying attention to what happened tonight. For Pinson, Caleb Nix will be a sophomore next season. For Auburn, a true freshman may be the key to turning things around on the Plains.