Jalen Hurd scored on Beech's first play from scrimmage.
It was an omen of things to come for Hurd, who broke three records, including the state single-season rushing record, as he rushed for 394 yards and seven touchdowns on 34 carries to lead the Buccaneers to a 56-35 win over Columbia in the Class 5A final at Tennessee Tech on Friday night. It was Beech's second state title in four years.
"You're competing for the state championship, and any time you're in that situation you're going to have more oomph, and I'm just glad we pulled it through," Hurd said. "When the offensive line is doing a great job and giving me holes that encourages me to run harder."
Hurd finished his junior year with 3,357 yards, breaking the record of 3,082 set by Huntingdon's Jacob Warbritton in a Class 1A loss to Gordonsville earlier in the day. Warbritton held the record for about seven hours.
Whitehaven's Mark Dodson has a shot at the record in tonight's Class 6A final against Maryville. He needs 381 yards to break Hurd's record.
Hurd also broke the BlueCross Bowl record for most rushing yards in a state final. St. George's Omar Williams set the old record with 322 against University School of Jackson last year.
He also broke the record for most touchdowns. Huntingdon's Terrance Bell scored six against Lipscomb Academy in 2003. South Pittsburg's Sam Pickett scored six against Moore County in 1999.
"Tonight is no different than what Jalen has done all year long," Bucs coach Anthony Crabtree said. "He just does his thing. It doesn't matter if it's Week Zero or Week 15 in the state championship. He tries to play the same all the time."
Beech also beat Columbia 47-33 in the 2009 final.
The Bucs lived up to their No. 1 ranking, finishing 15-0.
"Jalen is a great running back, and he has a great line blocking for him," said Bucs tight end Dametris Watson, who scored on a 34-yard pass from Lincoln Kenitzer with the defense drawn in to stop Hurd early in the third quarter. "When our line opens holes, he does what he does.
"He's fast, he's quick and he'll break tackles."
Columbia (12-3), appearing in its third state final in four years rallied to take a 14-13 lead late in the first half, but Hurd kept pounding away. He ran over tacklers all night long.
"At first we didn't know how to get him down -- gang tackle or go for the legs," Lions free safety/wide receiver Dre Hall said. "I think it's the way he follows his blocks and cuts. His cutting ability is good."
Hall caught 12 passes for 184 yards and one touchdown in his final game with Columbia.
Columbia's Matt Markham completed 24 of 33 passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns as the Lions kept battling back.
"We kept coming after them and our kids never gave up," Lions coach Howard Stone said.
"We had a couple of bad breaks early in the ballgame and when you're playing the caliber of team of Beech in the state championship, you cannot turn the ball over and make mistakes and get foolish penalties."
Interceptions set up Beech's first two touchdowns in the first quarter.