Xavier Football holds Lewis Central for the Class 4A Iowa state title

CEDAR FALLS — Thursday’s matchup between Lewis Central and Xavier lived up to the hype as two undefeated programs battled it out for the Class 4A title in the Iowa High School State Soccer Championships.

Neither team had lost a game for the title this season, but it was the Saints who took home the trophy with an unbeaten record. Lewis Central fell to Xavier 45-38.

Both teams traded results, but this season’s state championship didn’t require three overtimes like last year’s title game — between the same two programs — did.

Lewis Central got off to an unusual start. Braylon Kammrad was as perfect as the quarterback gets, throwing for over 2,500 yards and scoring a 32-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. But against Xavier, his first throw ended up in the hands of Saints’ linebacker Thomas Sundell.

Kammrad bounced back — threw for 156 yards and two touchdowns in the first half — but Xavier’s quarterback Ronan Thomas had impressive stats of his own. Thomas finished the first two quarters for 124 yards and a touchdown, and that was enough to help the Saints reclaim the lead before halftime.

Aidan McDermott had a big part in that, just in the first half with a rushing and a receiving touchdown.

Xavier wide receiver Aidan McDermott (1) runs towards the end zone during the Class 4A Playoff Championships on Thursday, November 17, 2022 at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls.  The Saints are up 17-14 to the Titans at halftime.

The score stayed close, 17-14, at halftime, but Xavier’s Coleton Beasler-Weber changed that early in the third quarter. He returned the kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown that put the Saints up 10 points just 14 seconds into the second half.

Xavier capitalized on a particular set of plays with Michael Cunningham in the second half that Lewis Central seemed to have no answer to. Thomas took the snap and threw it back to Cunningham, who ran 47 yards to put the Saints on the 17-yard line. A game and false start later, Xavier did something similar – except with a more traditional handover – and Cunningham rushed 13 yards for a touchdown.