Marcus Benjamin @_benjaminmoney
Daniel Longman kicked the game winning field goal Chaminade with four seconds left to win their first 3A state title since 2005. Junior quarterback Daelen Menard lead his team down the field on the final drive as they won by a final score of 31-28.
“I just told my guys to stay calm we got this,” said Menard. “O-line did their job, receivers did their job and we made it happen.”
Menard is one of the first ever finalists for Football Hotbed’s National Middle School Invitational Quarterback competition dubbed ‘The Future 4’ in 2015. He scrambled on a key 21-yard run on the drive to move his team in field goal range.
“I was dropping back and I didn’t like what I saw in the passing game and I saw a lane and I took it and it was wide open.”
Menard was dealing with an injury on his throwing shoulder injury he suffered in practice earlier this week. He described the pain as one of the toughest things he’s ever done.
“I can’t really move my shoulder that much, I just told myself that it doesn’t hurt on the field and I made it happen.”
At the 7:48 mark in the 4th quarter Oxbridge trimmed the lead 28-21 on a Gio Richardson TD pass to big tight end Herman C. McCray IV. This put pressure on Chaminade to score or sustain a drive to claim their third state title in their school’s history. Oxbridge stopped Shaun Shivers attempting to get the first down and forced a punt back over to Thunderwolves.
“We went down and we picked it back up,” said senior running back Shaun Shivers. “It was a just a good game all around,”
Richardson kept his eyes down the field on several throws and found De’John King on a 16-yard pass to knot the game at 28 with 3:27 left in the championship bout.
Head coach Dameon Jones and running back Shaun Shivers spoke about the journey back since a loss to American Heritage earlier this season.
“It was a long road,” said Jones. “I am happy for Chaminade-Madonna and it feels good.” “We were going through the motions since the Heritage game,” said Shivers. “We had a team meeting after that and then week took off.”
Auburn commit Shivers was asked to carry load for the Lions rushing 30 times for 216 yards with and two touchdowns.
Chaminade marched down the field on their first possession and scored with a Shuan Shivers 7-yard touchdown run. Oxbridge also marched down the field on their first possession and matched with a Gio Richardson 1-yard QB sneak. Chaminade would then counter with a deep shot to Akeem Hayes for 44 yards and touchdown to regain the lead 14-7.
The back and forth battle would continue with Oxbridge striking back with a drive that would end with an impressive touchdown run and catch by junior running back James Meeks. In the second half Alabama commit Xavier Williams missed on a deep ball, but got a second chance to redeem himself. Menard was able to connect with Williams the second time around on the same drive with a 55-yard touchdown bomb.
“I’m want of the leaders on this team,” said Williams. “That first play I wish I could’ve caught it, but I had to get it right back, you got to have that short term memory and you have to make a play for my team.
Both teams were on a collision course all year. Chaminade eliminated Oxbridge from the postseason last season 31-13 in the regional finals. They would lose in last years title game game to Trinity Christian 24-13. Chaminade outscored their opponents 174-37 during this playoff run.