CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Tri-Valley had one final play to tie the game with a touchdown and extra point with time expiring but Jack Singer batted down the last pass and the celebration was on for St. Teresa football, winning the Class 2A state championship 29-22 at Memorial Stadium Friday afternoon.

The Bulldogs (14-0) capped a perfect season with the win, its first title in 43 years and the second championship for St. Teresa Hall of Fame coach Mark Ramsey, who last won it all with Central A&M back in 1997.

“This group has been really close,” St. Teresa head coach Mark Ramsey said. “I have 18 seniors and most of them, I would say 14 or 15 of them have been playing together the whole way through and I think that you know, they just played for each other and I think that made the difference.”

St. Teresa took the lead midway through the fourth quarter thanks to a toe touch catch from Billy Guyse from Joe Brummer, putting the Bulldogs up 29-22 after a failed 2-point conversion. The Bulldogs defense stepped up from there, forcing a turnover on the ensuring Vikings (11-3), then St. Teresa held off a late 9-play, 61-yard rally from Tri-Valley to end the game. After three-straight losses in the semifinals, the Bulldogs are relieved to finally bring home the trophy.

“Man it just means the world to us because we couldn’t get over the hump and so now that we’re here, we’re different than every other team that’s went through here and we’re just happy to be here,” St. Teresa senior receiver Billy Guyse said.

“It means a lot to not only me, but everybody else on the team and a lot of people at the school too that we finally was able to get the job done and get a state championship,” St. Teresa running back Christion Harper said. “We kept on working hard and came close as a brotherhood and it mean a lot to everybody.”