Neumann football falls in regional semifinal Print this post

Staff Report – Florida Catholic


A stellar season for the St. John Neumann Catholic High School Celtic Football Team ended earlier than most wanted but it will not be soon forgotten.

The Celtics fell on Nov. 9 to Champagnat Catholic during the Class 2A-Region 4 semifinal in Hialeah, ending the season with a 9-1 record which was a remarkable achievement considering the team went winless in 2015.

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Celtic Football Team prays together following a regional semifinal loss in Hialeah on Oct. 16. The Naples team went undefeated during the regular season just two years after going winless.

The undefeated regular season will be remembered for the Celtics dominating on the field while the community recovered from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Irma. Not only did the storm damage the community, games were rescheduled and ended up playing three times in a seven-day span.

During the 9-0 run, the Celtics, under Head Coach Damon Jones, scored 40 points three times, while holding opponents scoreless three times. IN fact, until their season-ending loss (44-12), the team had not given up more than 17 points all season. Champagnat was Class 2 state runner-up in 2016.

“This is such a great group,” Jones told the Naples Daily News. “They did exactly what we asked them. We asked them to play hard and go 48 minutes, and they did exactly that. They never quit. It’s the same thing they’ve done for me every Friday night, Monday night, Saturday mornings this year.”

Quarterback Jensen Jones, Collier County’s leading rusher, finished with 51 hard-earned yards on 17 carries, scoring both touchdowns for the Celtics. The first touchdown was 3-yard rush, the second was as a receiver, hauling in a 33-yard pass from backup Thomas Balboni in the third quarter. 

Coach Jones told the Naples Daily News that he is excited for the momentum the Celtics produced this year, only two years after going winless.  “We got great leadership out of some of our upperclassmen,” he added. “We’ve got some young guys who are going to be good football players when they get bigger and stronger, but they did a great job for us this year. I think the ship is headed in the right direction.” 

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