Pinson Valley 26, Saraland 17
AUBURN – Pinson Valley High School held off Saraland in the second half to beat the Spartans 27-16 and claim its second consecutive Super 7 Class 6A state football championship Friday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The 6A finals closed out the 2018 Super 7. Attendance for all the finals 51,651 with 22,435 on hand for the 7A finals on Wednesday night, 16,012 in attendance on Thursday and 13,204 on hand for Friday’s three games. The total was up more than 15,000 from 2017.
Senior quarterback Bo Nix completed 25-of-35 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 15 times for 66 yards and another TD to earned MVP honors for his dad Coach Patrick Nix’s Indians (13-10 for the second straight year.
It was his keeper for two yards on fourth down at the Saraland 31-yard line with just under a minute remaining that sealed the hard-fought victory over Coach Jeff Kelly’s Spartans (13-2).
Nix teamed up with receiver Geordian Pollard for the longest touchdown pass in Super 7 Class 5A championship-game history on an 83-yard connection early in the second quarter to give Pinson a 12-3 lead at halftime. The pass was also the second longest in Super 7 history over all. The record, an 85-yard TD connection, was set earlier in the week by Mars Hill Bible in its 1A win over Linden. That pass eclipsed the Super 7 record set, ironically, by future NFL receiver Chad Jackson on a Hoover flanker pass in a 48-21 loss to Daphne in the 2001 Super 7 Class 6A finals.
Saraland took the early lead with a 32-yard field goal by Cole Robitzch late in the first quarter. The Indians drove 64 yards on six plays on the ensuing drive to take a 6-3 lead on Nix’s 2-yard run with 40 seconds left in the opening period. Spartans defensive back Shawn Byrd blocked both extra-point kicks following Pinson’s two first-half touchdowns. He also had two interceptions on defense, forced a fumble and recorded a game-high 13 tackles to keep Saraland in striking distance.
His second pick was the catalyst that led to the Spartans’ first touchdown, a 3-yard run by Rayshawn McAlpine which came at 2:40 in the third quarter and cut the Indians’ lead to 12-10.
Pinson answered quickly, however, driving 62 yards on 10 plays in the next three minutes to take a 19-10 lead on Nix’s 2-yard TD pass to Demarion Holloman with 11:21 to play. Saraland stormed right back scoring on quarterback Brett Nezat’s 11-yard TD pass to Jay Williams to pull within two 19-17 with just under nine minutes to play.
Is was Pinson’s defense that came up with the biggest play of the final period, however, when Kendall Thornton intercepted a Saraland pass and sped 32 yards into the end zone for the final score of the game with 5:03 to play.
Pinson Valley had 21 first downs, 94 yards rushing and 306 passing for 400 total yards. Saraland had 18 first downs, 221 yards rushing, 106 passing and 327 total yards. Nix, who became the state’s all-time career total offense leader in the Indians’ semifinal win over Clay-Chalkville, finished the season 267-of-445 passing on the year for 3,795 yards and 49 touchdowns with just eight interception. He finished his career with 161 touchdowns accounted for with 126 passing touchdowns and 35 rushing touchdowns to set a new AHSAA career state record.
McAlpine led Saraland with 158 yards rushing on 28 carries and Karie White had 65 on five runs. Nezat was 8-of-21 passing for 106 yards with Jay Williams hauling in four receptions.
Dorian Henderson and Antone Williams each had 11 tackles to pace the Indians defense.
2018 Super 7 State Championship Results
Mars Hill Bible 53, Linden 26
Fyffe 21, Luverne 19
Flomaton 23, Piedmont 12
UMS-Wright 52, Deshler 0
Central-Clay County 43, Vigor 42
Pinson Valley 26, Saraland 17
Central-Phenix City 52, Thompson 7
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