ATHENS — The Mart Panthers scored their first touchdown on the opening drive of the game and never looked back, rolling over the Alto Yellowjackets 62-42 in their Class A Division I Region III final Friday night at Bruce Field.

Mart quarterback De’Nerian Thomas carried the ball 14 times for a game-high 295 yards and seven touchdowns. Quentin Bryant recorded 130 yards on four carries and one touchdown, while D’Marcus Cosby racked up 87 yards on 13 carries.

Mart (11-2) will face Shiner in the semifinals next Friday in Round Rock. Alto finished the season 11-3.

Alto scored 14 straight points to start the second half. After a Mart fumble on its own 42-yard line, Alto’s Jacolby Whitaker punched the ball into the end zone from 3 yards out to cut Mart’s lead to 42-35.

On the ensuing drive, Thomas battled his way through a pack of Alto defensive linemen for a 13-yard touchdown and a 49-35 lead.

With 8:36 left in the game, Mart forced Alto to turn the ball over on downs at the Panthers’ 48-yard line. Bryant then sped past the Alto defense for a 52-yard touchdown, which increased the Panthers’ lead to 56-35.

With 3:50 remaining in the contest, Thomas put it away by taking the ball 75 yards for his seventh and final touchdown of the contest.

It didn’t take long for Mart to make its presence known. In fact, it only took 20 seconds. On the opening drive of the game, Bryant raced 66 yards for the first touchdown of the evening.

With 2:49 left in the second quarter, Mart seemed determined to end the first half with a bang. After gaining 16 yards on two plays, Thomas was off to the races as he blew past the Alto defense for a 40-yard touchdown and a commanding 42-21 lead going into intermission.

Whitaker finished the evening with 32 carries for 256 yards and four touchdowns, and quarterback Zac Sturns ran the ball 24 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns in the Alto defeat.