ARLINGTON – For the first time in program history, Boerne entered AT&T Stadium with a chance to earn a UIL State title. The Greyhounds certainly proved they belonged with the state’s best, but victory wasn’t quite in the cards against a reigning state champion.
Boerne saw a 21-0 second-quarter lead slip away in a 24-21 loss to China Spring in Friday’s UIL Class 4A Division I State Championship game. The Greyhounds finish their historic season with a 15-1 overall record.
A family connection opened the scoring in style. Halfway through the first quarter, Boerne quarterback Jaxon Baize’s pass was tipped and caught by his brother Braden Baize, who raced in untouched for a 79-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Brendan Levada hauled in an interception on China Spring’s next possession at midfield, and Jaxon quickly found Braden again for a 16-yard touchdown that doubled the lead. After Boerne’s defense forced a Cougar three-and-out, the Greyhounds capped an 11-play, 76-yard drive with a three-yard TD run from running back T.J. Dement that gave the team in purple a commanding 21-0 advantage.
China Spring started their comeback on the ensuing drive. The Cougars used 13 plays to march 65 yards, and quarterback Cash McCollum hit Tristan Exline for an 11-yard touchdown to make it a 14-point game at halftime. In the third quarter, McCollum dropped a dime to Kyle Barton for a 17-yard score that cut the deficit down to seven points, and on the Cougars’ next offensive possession, Exline ripped off a 66-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 21-all heading into the fourth quarter.
Midway through the final frame, Boerne moved the ball into Cougar territory and looked primed to put the game away. On 3rd-and-10 at the China Spring 38-yard line, Jaxon eluded the rush, rolled out and found Houston Hendrix along the sideline for a 26-yard gain. Unfortunately, the Greyhounds’ spectacular play was called back because of an ineligible man downfield. The penalty killed a 14-play drive and ultimately forced a Boerne punt. China Spring took over at their own 38-yard line and burned the remaining three minutes of regulation. Senior kicker Thomas Barr kicked the game-winning 20-yard field goal as time expired, handing the Greyhounds a heartbreaking loss on high school football’s biggest stage. The Cougars scored the final 24 points of the game. McCollum was named the game’s offensive MVP.
Jaxon Baize finished 11-of-21 for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Braden Baize caught both, finishing with five grabs for 139 yards. Dement rushed 22 times for 92 yards and a score.
Click below to hear postgame reaction from the Greyhounds:
MORE BIG GAME COVERAGE