Mars Hill Bible 53, Linden 26 AUBURN – Mars Hill Bible High School senior running back and linebacker Colt Smith broke up the middle for 65 yards and a touchdown on the opening play of the AHSAA Class 1A Super 7 state football championship game and intercepted a Linden pass with 1:01 left in the fourth quarter and returned it 35 yards for what was his fifth touchdown for the game to lead the Panthers to a 53-26 victory at Jordan-Hare Stadium Thursday. The state football title was the first for Mars Hill Bible – in just the fourth year of varsity competition. Smith finished with 168 yards on 17 carries with three rushing touchdowns tacking on a 15-yard TD midway through the first period and a 25-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. He also caught three passes for 63 yards and a 36-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter to tie a Super 7 Class 1A record for most touchdowns (5) and most points scored (30) in the 23-year history of the AHSAA’s Super 6/7 history. He also had 17 tackles on defense and three passes broken up to earn Super Class 1A Championship Game MVP honors. The Panthers (14-1) of Coach Darrell Higgins had 22 first downs, 368 yards rushing and 124 yards passing for 492 total yards. Quarterback Joseph Hanson added 93 yards rushing on eight carries and sophomore Peyton Higgins had 78 yards on 17 carries with a 5-yard touchdown run. Hanson also had an interception on defense, his ninth pick of the state playoffs this season, and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown midway through the third quarter to give the Panthers a 32-6 lead. Hanson also had with seven tackles on defense. Justus McDaniel added a 9-yard TD run in the second period for Mars Hill. Linden (13-1), coached by Demetrius Jackson, had 20 first downs, 113 rushing yards. Quarterback Graderius Brown completed 22-of-44 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns – three to Kevin Green. Green finished with a Super 7 Class 1A record 13 receptions for 207 yards and scores of 10, 85 and 8 yards. The 292 passing yards was a new Super 7 Class 1A record as well as Brown’s 44 attempts, 22 completions and 85-yard hookup with Green. That play was also the longest in all classes in Super 7 history. Brown’s fourth TD pass was a 2-yard toss to Joshua Williams for the Patriots’ first score in the second quarter. Leading the Linden defense was Timothy Thurman with 12 tackles and Brown with nine stops. Williams and Markell Williams added seven tackles each. Linden’s trip to the finals was the Patriots’ second overall and first since 2011. Both teams combined to set or tie 18 Super 7 Class 1A records in the contest including most total yards by both teams (897). Central-Clay County (11-3) was set to meet Vigor (13-1) in the 5A finals Thursday night at 7 p.m. Friday’s schedule begins at 11 a.m. with defending Class 4A state champion UMS-Wright (13-0) meeting Deshler (9-5), followed by Luverne (13-1) and Fyffe (14-0) in the 2A finals at 3 p.m., and Pinson Valley (12-1) playing Saraland (13-1) in the Class 6A finals at 7 p.m., to close out the 2018 Super 7 Championships. All games are being televised by the Raycom Sports Network with the Raycom feed live-streamed over the NFHS Network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the games live over their network of radio and internet affiliates across the state.