The drive for a 10th state championship will have to wait.
University Christian led at halftime but couldn’t hold off Hialeah Champagnat after that in a 41-27 loss in the Class 2A state championship game at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee on Wednesday afternoon.
The loss denied UC a shot to move into double figures in state championship trophies and gave Champagnat (11-2) consecutive state championships. The Lions also beat UC for the crown in 2017 in a 24-7
Orel Gray’s 10-yard touchdown with 6 minutes, 23 seconds to play pulled UC to within 34-27 and gave the Christians a shot. But the Lions erased any hope of a UC comeback with a 65-yard scoring drive on the ensuing possession, capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass from Tyous Taylor to Malik Rutherford four minutes later.
The Christians (8-5) went down 14-0 quick but recovered in a hurry with touchdown runs by Joseph Carter and Orel Gray. Gray added a two-point conversion run following his touchdown with 3 minutes, 29 seconds to play in the opening half for a 15-14 UC lead.
The Lions caught back up not long after.
Donovan Jones ripped off a 46-yard touchdown following a UC fumble and Benson Prosper had his third touchdown catch of the game three minutes later. Desirrio Riles threw a 66-yard touchdown strike to Ja’won Grey near the end of the third to get the Christians within 26-21.
Gray rushed for 126 yards on 18 carries and had two touchdowns for UC. Riles finished 11 of 17 for 178 yards and a score for the Christians.