In a span of three plays in the first quarter of the Panthers’ 70-14 win over Phillips, Higgins returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and three plays later returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown for the defending Class 1A state champions. He broke past eight defenders on the punt return to reach the open field on the amazing punt return. He also had four rush attempts for 87 yards including a TD run of 51 yards.
Mars Hill Coach Darrell Higgins was also amazed. His son returned five kicks for touchdowns last season as Mars Hill (3-0) rolled to a 14-1 record and the school’s first Class 1A state football championship. None were as exciting as last Friday’s punt return, however. Higgins fielded the punt just inside the 10-yard line, sped up the middle, and then to his left as the Bears tried to corral him. He cut back to his right and finally got loose in Phillips territory and coasted the rest of the way.
The victory was the Panthers’ 13th in a row since losing to Class 4A Brooks 36-35 on Sept. 28, 2018. Mars Hill will face Cherokee this week and then have its rematch with the Lions the following Friday.
Check out the returns, courtesy of Mars Hill Bible, at the following link: http://www.hudl.com/v/2Bj6ck