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Mars Hill Bible roars past Abbeville 56-14 to nab the 2020 AHSAA 2A state title

Dennis Victory

Tuscaloosa, AL – The Mars Hill Bible School Panthers are taking their second blue map back to the Quad Cites after knocking off the Abbeville Yellow Jackets 56-14 Friday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  

The Panthers, who first fielded an AHSAA varsity football squad in 2014, have compiled a 41-4 record while claiming three region crowns, posting an 18-0 record in region play, making three trips to the Super 7 and claiming a pair of state championships over the past three seasons. 

“We’ve been playing really well for a while now and I just wanted them to be able to play their best on the big stage”, Mars Hill head coach Darrell Higgins said following the the victory, “I was really proud to see them do that tonight”

The No. 1 ranked Panthers made the move back to class 2A after competing in class 1A in 2018 and 2019.  

Abbeville closes out LaBrian Stewart’s first season at the helm of the Yellow Jackets program at 12-2.  

After a scoreless first quarter the Mars Hill offense roared to life three ticks in to the second period as Justus McDaniel scored the first of two first half touchdowns, both from the Yellow Jacket one yard line.  Damian Thompson snagged a 21 yard Griffin Hanson pass with less that a minute left in the half to give the Panthers a 20-0 lead heading into the locker room.  

After the break the Panther offensive explosion continued as Justus crossed the goal line for the third time on an eight yard scamper followed by a 41 yard Damian Thompson reception and a Hunter Killpatrick 23 yard rushing score to put the Panthers up by 42 heading into the final frame. 

The middle of the forth quarter saw a flurry of scores from both sides.   Justice added his forth touchdown, this one from just outside the 10 and Higgins notched a 76 yard kickoff return.  Abbeville got on the board with an Arthur Thomas 8 yard scoring run followed by a Randy Glanton 61 yard kickoff return for a score. 

Higgins lead the Panther rushing attack with 156 yards on 20 carries, Justus added 75 yards on 13 attempts and four scores, Hunter Kilpatrick chipped in 56 yards and a touchdown on four carries.  Hanson completed 7-of-12 throws for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Damian Thompson was Hanson’s favorite target pulling down four catches for 118 yards and a pair of scores. 

Panthers quarterback Griffin Hanson was selected by the media at the championship game’s Most Valuable player. 

Abbeville signal caller Martavious Glanton passed for 18 yards, completing 1-of-4 passes.  Jayven Anderson caught one pass for 18 yards, Ricav. Dozier rushed for 51 yards on 14 carries and Randy Glanton added a 113 kick return yards including a 61 yard return for a score.