Augusta Christian's run at a second state title in three years came up one game short this season with a 17-14 loss to Hammond in the South Carolina Independent Schools Association Class AAA state championship game.
Playing in Orangeburg, S.C., on the campus of South Carolina State University, the Lions fumbled four times in the contest but still managed to hang with the defending state champs until the final minutes of the game. Skyhawk placekicker Joseph Zemp played the role of hero with a 29-yard field goal to break a 14-14 tie with 1:29 left in the ball game.
Zemp's 3-point effort was enough to lift Hammond to its second straight state championship and fourth-straight victory over Augusta Christian.
"We made some mistakes and they made some mistakes, but we were able to capitalize on their end," Hammond football coach Erik Kimrey said. "They're a fine team and a great organization. I have a lot of respect for (Augusta Christian coach) Bruce Lane, and they could have easily won the game tonight. We're very fortunate to come away with a win."
The Lions wrapped up the 2007 season at 10-3. Though the state title game didn't go their way, Lane said his Lions still made a strong run.
"When you get to that last one, you want to win the last one. We came up short tonight," Lane said. "It was a good season. I'm sure in time we'll reflect and feel pretty good about some of the things we accomplished, but when you come this far and you don't finish you're disappointed."
Augusta Christian's 13-game season saw records broken, including the school's first-ever win at Heathwood Hall. Senior Tyler Bourdo threw for 13 touchdowns on close to 800 yards passing this season to close out his high school career. Senior Jay Harmon ran for 17 touchdowns on more than 1,100 yards rushing.
Another Lion broke a school record during the season. Junior placekicker Steven Bloedel nailed 52 point after attempts and converted on six field goals. His 70 points on kicking broke the season record of 67 set by Alden Fisher in 2005.
Lane also put his name in the Augusta Christian record books. He entered the season as the second-winningest coach in Lion football history behind Steve Price and his 49 career wins. Lane's 13 victories this season gave him 60 career wins in only his sixth year as Augusta Christian's head coach.
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