Griffins rally to win Class 5 championship

The St. John Vianney High School football team scored 28 unanswered points in the second half to overcome a 14-point halftime deficit and defeat Fort Osage, 28-14, in the Missouri Class 5 championship game on Saturday night at Faurot Field in Columbia.

“We worked so hard for this moment,” said senior Kyren Williams, who racked up 345 total yards (289 rushing, 65 receiving) and one touchdown. “We never lost hope. We came out in the second half and shut down their offense. We made really big plays late in the game to turn the momentum over to us and win the state championship.”

The Griffins, who have now won two state championships in three seasons, trailed 14-0 at halftime.

“At halftime there was no panic,” Vianney coach Paul Day said. “We felt like if we did the things we knew we were capable of doing we would be able to climb back into this.”

The Griffins (11-3) finished with 484 total yards of offense, including 357 on the ground. Williams rushed 26 times for 289 yards, while senior Percy Mitchell Jr. added 90 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. Junior quarterback Griffin John completed 11 of 18 passes for 137 yards, with one interception. 

The Vianney defense limited Fort Osage to 214 total yards and 11 first downs. Devin Ward, a junior safety, finished with a game-high 10 tackles. The defense sacked Fort Osage quarterback Ty Baker six times, led by senior defensive end Nate Thurman's 1.5 sacks.