Super 6: Linden vs. Marion County

Top-ranked Linden (13-1) will meet 8th-ranked Marion County (13-1) in the 2011 AHSAA Class 1A state championship at the Super Six on Thursday, Dec. 1 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Kick-off is 3:00 p.m.

Linden captured the Class 1A, Region 1 championship this season. Marion County finished in a three-way tie for first-place with Berry and Lynn for the Class 1A, Region 5 championship Marion County earned the top seed from Region 5 winning the three-team tie-breaker.

Linden and Marion County will meet for the first time in history.

Linden head coach Andro Williams has compiled a 60-8 (.882) record in five seasons at Linden. He owns a 14-4 (.778) playoff record with the Patriots. He has guided the Patriots to three Region titles in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

Prior to Linden, Willaims was an assistant coach at rival Sweet Water, where he was a part of two state championship teams in 2004 and 2006.

Marion County head coach Russell Funk has compiled a 35-14 (.714) record in four seasons as head coach. Funk is 25-11 (.694) in three seasons with the Red Raiders (2009-11). He spent one season at head coach at Lamar County High School in Vernon led the Stallions to a 9-4 record in 2008. Funk owns a 7-2 (.778) record in three playoff appearances.

Linden is seeking its first state championship. The Patriots have tied the school record with 13 wins. Linden also won 13 games in 2008.

Linden finished the 2011 regular season ranked No. 1 in the ASWA poll. The Patriots captured the Class 1A, Region 1 championship with a perfect 6-0 record. It was the school's eighth region title and third (2008, 2009 and 2011) in the last four years.

Linden advanced to the 2011 Super Six with four straight wins over Autaugville, Pleasant Home, Maplesville and Sweet Water.

The Patriots have averaged 35.5 points (142 points) in their four playoff wins and have scored 40 or more points three times. The defense has allowed only 20 points (5.0 ppg) in four playoff games, including a 41-0 shutout win over Pleasant Home in the second round.

Linden is 26-19 (.578) in 20 all-time playoff appearances. The Patriots are in the playoffs for the fifth straight year, matching the longest streak in school history. The Patriots also made five straight playoff appearances from 1984-88.

Linden played all of its home games this year about 20 miles away from town in Dixons Mills. The move came after the Linden Athletic Association removed the visitors' bleachers and more than doubled the fee for the school to use Linden Athletic Field, which it has shared with the local private school, Marengo Academy, for more than 30 years. The association has owned the field since 1976, when the city sold it for $250.

The Patriots high-powered offense has racked up 568 points and averages 40.6 points per game. Linden scored a school-record 656 points in 2010.

The Patriots opened the 2011 season with straight wins, including a 25-14 region win over rival and defending state champions Sweet Water.

Linden's first three victories against Central-Tuscaloosa, Fruitdale and A.L. Johnson were by a combined 173-0.

The Patriots have wins over Class 5A Central-Tuscaloosa and Class 4A Greene County. The lone loss came at Class 5A Gulf Shores (20-14) by six points.

Linden has scored 40 or more points nine times, 50 or more points five times and 60 or more points twice. Linden averages 319.6 yards per game this season. The Patriots have rushed for 3,228 yards and thrown for 1,247 yards in 14 games.

The defense has been equally impressive this season and has allowed 82 total points (5.9 ppg) in 14 games. The Patriots held 11 of their 14 opponents to eight points or less and posted six shutouts.

Linden blanked its first three opponents (Central, Fruitdale and A.L. Johnson) and then later blanked McIntosh, Marengo and Pleasant Home. The Patriots have allowed just over 140 yards per game (140.7) this season. Linden opponents have rushed for 1,119 yards and passed for 851 yards this year.

Junior quarterback Anthony Robinson has completed 63-of-101 (.624) for 1,084 yards with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions. Robinson was responsible for five touchdowns in the semifinal win over Sweet Water last week. He completed five-of-seven passes for 104 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Shelton. He added two rushing touchdowns and two defensive touchdowns for the Patriots. He scored on a runs of 32 and 20 yards.

On defense, Robinson had a 48-yard fumble return and an 88-yard blocked FG return. He was eight-for-12 for 88 yards and one touchdown in the win over Maplesville. He added a one-yard run that gave the Patriots a 14-7 lead in the third quarter. Robinson completed all eight passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns against Pleasant Home. He also scored on seven-yard run.

Junior tailback Jamal Lewis is the leading rusher with 76 rushing attempts for 711 yards this season. He averages 9.4 yards per carry. Lewis has also caught 17 passes for 394 yards. He averages 23.2 yards per catch.

Junior tailback Marquise Shelton has 64 rushing attempts for 613 yards (9.6 per carry) this season. He also had 18 catches for 308 yards (17.1 per catch) in 13 games.

Senior tailback Julian Little has 99 rushing attempts for 705 yards this season. He averages 7.2 yards per carry. He has 30 rushing attempts for 130 yards and one touchdown last week against Maplesville.

The Patriots' defense recorded 10 pass breakups, seven sacks and forced three turnovers in the last two weeks against Maplesville and Sweet Water. Robinson had six tackles and five pass breakups last week against Sweet Water.

Marion County is seeking its fourth state championship and its first Super Six championship. The Red Raiders won three straight 1A state championships in 1971, 1972 and 1973.

The Red Raiders have tied the school record with 13 wins this season. MCHS also won 13 games during its 1971 state championship run.

The Red Raiders were ranked No. 7 in the final ASWA poll this season. The Raiders finished in a three-way tie with Berry and Lynn for the Class 1A, Region 5 championship, but won the three-team tie-breaker and earned the region's top seed. It was the school's sixth region title (1982, 1986, 1994, 1997, 2010 and 2011) and second straight.

Marion County advanced to the 2011 Super Six with four straight wins over R.A. Hubbard, Cedar Bluff, Donoho and Ragland. The Red Raiders have scored 154 points (38 ppg) in four playoff games, including 40 points against Cedar Bluff and Donoho. The defense has yielded 86 points (21.5 ppg) in their four playoff wins and have allowed more than 20 points three times.

Marion County is 21-16 (.568) in 20 playoff appearances. The Red Raiders are seeking their fourth state championship, winning the 1A title in 1971, 1972 and 1973. Marion County is 3-0 all-time in the state championship game. This is their first Super Six appearance. The Red Raiders are making back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since 2000-2002.

The Red Raiders have scored a school-record 662 points this season. MCHS is averaging 47.3 points per game. The Red Raiders have scored at least 34 points in all 14 games. Marion County has scored 40 or more points 10 times, 50 or more points six times and 60 or more points twice against Hubbertville (69-43) and Lynn (63-28).

Marion County has piled up 6,559 total yards (468.5 ypg) this season. The Red Raiders boast a potent rushing attack, led by four 1,000 yard rushers. Marion County has 642 rushing attempts for 5,429 yards and 72 touchdowns this season. The Red Raiders average 339.3 yards per game and 8.46 yard per attempt. Marion County has completed 58-of-97 passes (.598) for 1,130 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.

The running game is led by a quartet of 1,000-yard rushers this season.

Junior Justin Sanderson leads the team with 218 rushing attempts for 1,433 yards and 17 TDs. He is averaging 102.4 yards per game.

Junior DeShawn Riebeschl is second on the team with 144 rushing attempts for 1,259 yards and a team-high 20 touchdowns.

Junior quarterback Shawn Wallace has 104 rushing attempts for 1,105 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Sophomore Dorryl Swanigan joined the group last week when he topped 1,000 yards against Ragland. Swanigan has 106 rushing attempts for 1,009 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground.

In addition, Wallace has completed 57-of-96 (.594) passes for 1,123 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. He has thrown only four interceptions. Riebeschl (19-348-5), Swanigan (16-317-3), and senior Ben Johnson (15-321-6) all have more than 15 catches.

The Red Raiders' defense has allowed 328 points (23.4 ppg) this season. Marion County has yielded 218 points (31.4 ppg) in the last seven games, including a season-high 68 points in a loss to Berry on Oct. 14.

Junior Justin Sanderson leads the team with 76 tackles. Johnson is second on the team with 73 total stops, including a team-leading 53 solo tackles. In the secondary, Swanigan has recorded eight interceptions (161 yards) and Johnson has added seven interceptions (129 yards) this year.

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