University Christian falls 24-7 to Champagnat Catholic in state finals

Second loss in 11 finals appearances for UC

University Christian's bid for a 3rd straight Class 2A title came up just short as they fell to Champagnat 24-7.
University Christian's bid for a 3rd straight Class 2A title came up just short as they fell to Champagnat 24-7. (Brian Jackson News4Jax)

ORLANDO, Fla. – In a rematch of last year's 2A state championship game, University Christian fell to Champagnat Catholic 24-7, marking just the second time in 11 tries that the Christians lost in a state final.

University Christian (10-3), which won last year's matchup 24-8, was attempting to become just the second team in Florida history to win at least 10 state championships. Bolles has won 11 state titles. 

Early on, it looked good for UC. Late in the first quarter, quarterback Clayton Boyd connected with Jalen Dunnigan on a 23-yard pass for the game's first score. Champagnat (9-2) responded with two second-quarter touchdowns. The first, a 3-yard run by Calvin Montgomery, closed out a 10-play drive. Then, with less than a minute to play before halftime, Donovan Georges scored on a 1-yard run that capped an 11-play drive that started at the Lions' own 7-yard-line. 

Champagnat stretched the lead to 17-1 on a 36-yard Daryn Duke Jones field goal with 5:00 left in the game. Then, with 2:11 to play, the Lions put the game away when quarterback Desjuan Kearse connected with sophomore wide receiver Marc Britt on a 36-yard touchdown pass. 

"I'm just proud of our guys, we fought all year long," said Christians' head coach David Penland. "We didn't have the most talented team we've had here. These guys played as a team all year. All I can say is I'm proud of them. I'm really proud of our seniors. They have two state championships under their belt. We lost the third one. We'll regroup and get back after it next year."

The game was closer than the final score indicated. Neither team was able to generate a consistent running game but the Lions had the advantage in the passing game, out-gaining the Christians 214 to 114. This was also the final game in a storied career for Boyd, who was looking for his third straight championship as the Christians' starting quarterback.

"Its a great honor to be part of this great organization," said Boyd. "To build the legacy that we've built here and to make it here three times in a row is amazing. It's definitely tough to end our career like this."

UC's loss leaves the 904 area code 1-1 in state title games this year. On Thursday, Raines became the first Duval County public school in 20 years to win a state football title. Baker County plays Plantation American Heritage at 3 p.m. Friday, and Bartram Trail takes on Venice at 3 p.m. Saturday.

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