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Three schools, three football champs

Chaminade-Madonna, St. Thomas Aquinas, Columbus are tops in Florida

MIAMI | Three archdiocesan high schools notched state football championships in December: Chaminade-Madonna in Hollywood, St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale and Christopher Columbus in Miami.

Marianist-run Chaminade-Madonna made its seventh consecutive appearance in the state championship game Dec. 8, 2022, defeating Clearwater Central Catholic in the Class 1M game by a score of 48-14. The game was played at Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee.

Chaminade-Madonna players celebrate the Hollywood high school's second straight state championship after defeating Clearwater Central Catholic in the Class 1M game by a score of 48-14, Dec. 8, 2022 in Tallahassee.

Photographer: footballhotbed.com

Chaminade-Madonna players celebrate the Hollywood high school's second straight state championship after defeating Clearwater Central Catholic in the Class 1M game by a score of 48-14, Dec. 8, 2022 in Tallahassee.

Columbus High Explorers and head coach Dave Dunn celebrate their second state championship, an overtime 16-13 win against Apopka in the Class 4M final, Dec. 17, 2022 in Fort Lauderdale.

Photographer: COURTESY

Columbus High Explorers and head coach Dave Dunn celebrate their second state championship, an overtime 16-13 win against Apopka in the Class 4M final, Dec. 17, 2022 in Fort Lauderdale.

St. Thomas Aquinas players and head coach Roger Harriott celebrate their fourth consecutive, and 14th overall, state championship, defeating Homestead 38-21 in the Class 3M final, Dec. 15, 2022 in Fort Lauderdale.

Photographer: Aquinas Athletics

St. Thomas Aquinas players and head coach Roger Harriott celebrate their fourth consecutive, and 14th overall, state championship, defeating Homestead 38-21 in the Class 3M final, Dec. 15, 2022 in Fort Lauderdale.

This was the second straight state championship for the Lions, who have won in five of their seven consecutive state finals. They are only the second team in state history to play in seven consecutive title games, matching Belle Glade’s Glades Central who did it between 1982 and 1988.

The Lions hold an overall total of seven state titles (2003, 2005, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022). They went into the state championship having won 23 consecutive games and finished the season undefeated. They are ranked #10 in the nation and #4 in Florida by MaxPreps. Dameon Jones is the head football coach.

A week later, on Dec. 15 at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, St. Thomas Aquinas won an unprecedented 14th state championship, and fourth consecutive state title, in Class 3M. The Raiders, ranked #3 in Florida and #6 in the nation by MaxPreps, defeated Homestead 38-21. They finished the season undefeated at 14-0.

The Raiders have won state championships in 1992, 1997, 1999, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022; and national championships in 2008 and 2010. They are coached by Roger Harriott.

On Dec. 17, also at DRV PNK Stadium, Marist-run Columbus notched a thrilling overtime win in Class 4M, defeating Apopka 16-13 to claim their second state title. The Explorers ended the season with a 14-1 record. They won their last state football championship in 2019, also against Apopka. Coached by Dave Dunn, they are ranked #6 in Florida and #23 in the nation.

After the state championship, Chaminade-Madonna’s Lions made a trip to Las Vegas to play Bishop Gorman in the GEICO State Champions Bowl, held Dec. 17. Despite a great effort, they fell to Bishop Gorman 14-49.

The Hollywood high school has embarked on a football enhancement project that will result in improvements to the locker room and weight room as well as the eventual addition of a press box on the turf field. It has been many decades since their football locker room has been renovated.

"These lockers are 40 years old, so renovations are long overdue for the kids and the program. They deserve it. They earned it," said coach Jones.

Construction was scheduled to begin in January 2023 and is estimated to be completed in time for the 2023 football season.

St. Thomas Aquinas running back Jordan Lyle lunges for the end zone to score the Raiders first touchdown on their way to winning their fourth consecutive, and 14th overall, state championship. They defeated Homestead 38-21 in the Class 3M final, Dec. 15, 2022 in Fort Lauderdale.

Photographer: Aquinas Athletics

St. Thomas Aquinas running back Jordan Lyle lunges for the end zone to score the Raiders first touchdown on their way to winning their fourth consecutive, and 14th overall, state championship. They defeated Homestead 38-21 in the Class 3M final, Dec. 15, 2022 in Fort Lauderdale.