The Cougars played at home, on Grover Jones Field, before an enormous crowd of fans from both schools. The game launched with Collegiate kicker Jake Johnston kicking a field goal for the team’s first three points, followed by a touchdown pass from quarterback T. Brewer to wide receiver Ayinde Budd.
Johnston scored again in the second quarter - a 47-yard field goal - which left the score at 12-0 by halftime.
Collegiate scored its second touchdown (Brewer to Budd) in the third quarter, raising the score to 19-0 before Benedictine came back with a touchdown. Collegiate’s Johnston responded with another field goal, and the score entering the fourth quarter was 22-7.
A determined Benedictine squad came back and scored a second touchdown, closing the gap to 22-14. The Cadets continued to press, and in the waning moments of the fourth quarter had possession of the ball; but Collegiate’s defense once again came through and held off Benedictine for the win.
Today's victory was the varsity football team's first state championship since 2009. Benedictine held the title in 2015 and 2014.
Collegiate Athletic Director Karen Doxey applauded the Cougars and the varsity coaches for preparing well and playing with determination and a winning mindset.
"This spirit has been there throughout the season, and the way it really came to the forefront today was outstanding," Coach Doxey said. "We played well on both sides of the ball, with very few mistakes. This was such a great way to end a fantastic season."
Collegiate head varsity football coach Mark Palyo also saluted the team.
"I'm super proud of the boys," he said as students and parents stormed the field to surround and congratulate the Cougars. "They did a fantastic job."
Doxey also noted the important role that both teams’ informal "cheering squads" played in making for an exciting game.
"The sheer number of fans for both schools was incredible," she said. "It was a great environment for both sides.”
Several local news outlets were on hand to capture the game and celebratory highlights.
Read the Richmond Times-Dispatch article here
. View WRIC Channel 8's coverage here