AUBURN – Mars Hill Bible High School fielded its first football team in 2014, going 1-9 that season. Just four years later in their fifth season of play, the Panthers reign supreme over the AHSAA Class 1A football world. Mars Hill jumped out to a 19-0 lead early in the Class 1A State Title Game against Linden and never looked back, beating the Patriots 53-26 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Panthers' 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.
Smith's five touchdown game and his 30 points scored tied the Class 1A state title record in a game that tied or broke 18 1A Championship game records. Smith finished with 168 yards on 17 carries with three rushing touchdowns, and he also caught three passes for 63 yards and a score. He also had 17 tackles on the defensive side of the ball to earn Super 7 Class 1A Championship Game MVP honors.
"Well first of all I want to say that we got a great group of seniors. They decided that they wanted to do something special when I got to Mars Hill three years ago," said Mars Hill head football coach Darrell Higgins. "They were 10th graders and I said guys its going to be hard and it's got to be something you commit to every day, and it's going to be the most commitment you've ever seen to do this and they said coach, we want it, we want it all and we want to be there in football and I said let's get to work and that's what they did and haven't taken a day off yet."
"It's an awesome feeling just knowing that, being the first ones to do it," said Panthers' running back Colt Smith. "We'll always be remembered for that and people will look up to us so."
The Panthers finish the season with 14-1 record, and most importantly, they're bringing the state title back to Florence.