TUSCALOOSA – Mars Hill Bible won an Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A title, beating Abbeville, 56-14.
The Panthers (13-2) established a 21-0 halftime lead and beat the Yellow Jackets (12-2) for their second championship.
Here are the takeaways from the game:
1,000-yard running back duo fire up early attack
Justus McDaniel and Peyton Higgins have carried the brunt of the Panthers offense this season. The trend continued at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
McDaniel was brilliant with 75 yards and four touchdowns. Peyton Higgins also averaged over 10 yards per carry, averaging 201 total yards on 19 touches.
Mars Hill posted 299 total rushing yards, edging Abbeville’s total offense (117 yards). Chunk runs set the Panthers’ first score of the game, and ultimately Griffin Hanson thrived with play-action.
“We’ve been playing well for a while,” coach Darrell Higgins said. “Today was no different.”
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Mars Hill outplayed Abbeville early and often.
The Panthers capitalized on a first-quarter injury that left Abbeville quarterback Martavious Glanton sidelined for the majority of the game. Junior Chris Williams, listed as receiver, came on in place of Glanton and made just one pass. Once a track was established, Mars Hill continued to dump it.
A ground game tired the Yellow Jackets defenders, most of whom also started on offense. Hanson led an opportunistic passing game (222 yards and two touchdowns), targeting Damian Thompson for 118 yards and two scores.
“Every time I throw the ball deep,” Hanson said, “I can count on him.”
The mistakes of the Yellow Jackets are expensive
Even when Glanton was in the game, Abbeville’s attack was hampered.
Two Panthers defensive backs had interceptions ricocheted off their hands. Glanton kicked a ball into the dirt during a run play. And a first attempt at fourth down never happened due to a false start and subsequent punt.
Even when Abbeville generated momentum, Mars Hill stifled it. The Yellow Jackets converted and went for a fourth down on their own 10-yard line in the first quarter. On the next game, however, Jake McCluskey recovered a failed transfer.