FORT COLLINS — Columbine senior Josh Snyder and his Rebel teammates prevented Cherry Creek from winning a fifth straight Class 5A football state championship Saturday.

Synder scored a trio of touchdowns to propel Columbine to a 28-14 victory over the top-seeded and previously undefeated Bruins at Canvas Stadium on the Colorado State University campus.

“It feels extremely good to end a possible 5-peat,” Snyder said. “The biggest and best part of winning is doing it with all these brothers.”

It’s Columbine’s sixth 5A state championship since 1999, first since 2011. All six of the Rebel state football titles have been coached by Andy Lowry.

“It means the world,” Lowry said of winning his sixth state title the same season he picked up his 300th career coaching victory. “Our guys just took one week at a time. They believed and worked hard at practice. I’m just so grateful and feel so blessed.”

No. 2-seeded Columbine (14-0 record) finished undefeated in knocking off previously undefeated Cherry Creek (13-1).

The last meeting between the Rebels and Bruins was actually in the 2019 state championship game. Cherry Creek took a 35-10 victory to begin the Bruins’ run of four straight titles. Jadon Holliday, older brother of Columbine’s current quarterback Reeve Holliday, was the Rebels’ signal-caller four seasons ago during the Rebels’ state runner-up squad.

“It’s a feeling like you’ve never had before,” Holliday said with tears of joy running down his face. “It was a very special game with revenge for my brother. These guys just fought harder than I ever could have imaged.”

Columbine sealed the victory with the only touchdown in the second half on a 1-yard touchdown plunge by junior James Basigner with 5:10 left in the fourth quarter. Two of the Rebels’ touchdown drives came with Columbine taking over in Cherry Creek territory off of shanked punts.

“We always love 98-yard drives because it eats up the clock, but if we get it at the 30-yard line and give us an opportunity to score quickly we love that as well,” Snyder said.

Photo by Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Public Schools

Snyder had a monster first half. Snyder had 9 carries for 69 yards including a pair of rushing touchdowns on the ground. His 46-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter pushed the Rebels’ lead to 14-0. He finished with 25 carries and 128 yards.

“I don’t know how he doesn’t have top Division I offers,” Holliday said of Snyder. “He is just a dog and makes every play. He made a bunch of games for us tonight.”

The Rebels were threatening to take a 3-score lead, but Cherry Creek senior Kiyno Johnston intercepted Holliday in the end zone. Cherry Creek used the momentum with an 80-yard scoring drive capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by senior Jordan Herron to cut the lead in half.

However, Snyder returned the ensuing kickoff 98-yards to give the Rebels a 21-7 lead with 2:51 left before halftime.

“That was our first kickoff return for a touchdown the entire season,” Snyder said. “It is such a game-breaker and momentum shifter. That was huge.”

The Bruins answered with a last-minute touchdown drive with sophomore Jayden Fox scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run to cut Columbine’s lead to 21-14 at halftime.

Cherry Creek couldn’t get much going offensively in the second half. The Bruins turned the ball over on downs twice and a 7-yard punt set Columbine up on the Bruins’ 26-yard line to score the lone touchdown of the second half.

“I think our defensive capabilities were incredible,” Lowry said. “Our defense has been underrated all year long.”

Cherry Creek was held to just 108 yards on the ground while Columbine piled up 251 yards rushing.

“Creek has some dudes up on that offensive line, but we’ve got dudes on the defensive line as well,” Columbine middle linebacker James Cillessen said of the Rebels shutting out Cherry Creek in the second half. “We were more physical, tougher and quicker. Everything worked perfect.”

Saturday was the 16th 5A state championship game that Dave Logan has coached in since 1996. Logan won state titles at Arvada West and Chatfield before moving on to Mullen when her captured four titles. His run at Cherry Creek has yielded five state trophies.

The Wheat Ridge High School and University of Colorado graduate, along with former NFL receiver has a 11-5 record in titles games.

Lowry was coaching his seventh 5A championship game since 1999. The Lakewood High School graduate has a 6-1 record coaching the Rebels in title games.

Since 1996, Logan and Lowry have been one or both of the coaches in the largest-school classification in 20 of 28 state championship games. It was the third head-to-head meeting in the title game between the two coaching legends.

“That makes us both old first,” Lowry said. “We have both been blessed with great kids and great programs.”

It was the first time high school football state championship games were held at Canvas Stadium on the CSU campus. The 36,500 seat capacity on-campus stadium opened in 2017.

“It really hasn’t set in,” Cillessen said stand at midfield. “We did everything we could and it was enough. We came out on top. It’s great to be a part of this organization.”