AHSAA Super 6: Marion County defeats Linden

Marion County High School's Red Raiders rolled up 322 total yards Thursday afternoon en route to a 23-12 victory over Linden to claim the school's first state football title since winning three in a row from 1971-73.

The Red Raiders (14-1) of Coach Rusty Funk did it the old-fashioned way with a tenacious running game that kept the powerful Bears defense on their heels the entire game.

Marion County junior quarterback Sean Wallace rushed for 141 yards on 14 carries and scored two touchdowns on runs of six and one yards to earn MVP honors. It was his six-yard run with 1:03 left in the first half that not only put the Red Raiders ahead for good, but also wrote Marion County's name in the AHSAA state record book as the state's single-season total offense leader.

Funk's team came in needing 176 yards to surpass the record (6,734 yards) set by Class 3A Cordova in 2008. Marion County finished the season with 6,881 yards, an average of 458.7 yards per game this season, for the second-highest total in AHSAA history. Sumter County averaged 466.8 yards per game in 11 games during the 1997 season.

The Red Raiders (14-1) set school records for wins (14), points scored (685), points per game (45.7), total yards (6,881) and yards per game (458.7) this season while finishing the year with 5,707 yards rushing, second all-time to Winfield's 5,943 yards set in 15 games in 2004.

Place-kicker Ben Riggs added a 35-yard field goal and three extra points to finish the season with 85 PATs, a Class 1A state record. He finished 85-of-88. His field goal was the second longest in Super 6 Class 1A state history.

Wallace also completed four-of-10 passes for 44 yards and a touchdown to finish the season 59-of-106 for 1,167 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,246 yards on 118 carries with 19 more scores and was one of four 1,000-yard rushers on the team.

Fullback Justin Sanderson, who had an interception and 56 yards rushing on 15 carries, was the team's leading rusher with 1,489 yards on 233 carries with 17 touchdowns.

DeShawn Riebesehl added 47 yards on nine carries and ended his season with 1,306 yards and 20 touchdowns on 153 carries.

Ready Swanigan, who had the other touchdown with a spectacular grab in the end zone on a 15-yard toss from Wallace, rushed for 34 yards on 11 carries and totaled 1,043 yards rushing on 117 carries with 13 touchdowns.

Marion County had 19 first downs to Linden's nine and out-gained the Bears 322 yards to 231.

Linden was led on offense by Anthony Robinson's 53 yards rushing on six carries. His 55-yard run gave Coach Andro Williams' Bears (14-1) a brief 12-9 lead with 5:01 remaining in the second quarter. Robinson was also nine-of-15 passing for 112 yards.

Julian Little, whose seven-yard run tied the game at 6-6 early in the second quarter, had 18 yards rushing and snared a screen pass at his own five-yard line and sped 47 yards for a big play in the fourth quarter.

Robinson led all tacklers with 12 stops. Terris Lewis added 11 and Ryan Preston nine for Linden. Jalen Lewis also had two interceptions.

Wallace paced Marion County with five tackles. Swanigan also had a pick for the Raiders in addition to Sanderson's interception.

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