Football notebook

Cardinal Gibbons, Chapel Hill quarterbacks have unusual connection

tstevens@newsobserver.comOctober 28, 2013 

Chapel Hill quarterback Grant Deselm (9) charges ahead on a keeper into the arms of Cardinal Gibbons defenders Neal Nelson (32) and David Smith (42) during Chapel Hill's game at Cardinal Gibbons on Friday, October 25, 2013. Cardinal Gibbons won 47-36.

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The quarterbacks in Cardinal Gibbons’ 47-36 Big Eight 3A football victory against Chapel Hill had an interesting connection.

Shawn Stankavage is the son of former North Carolina All-America swimmer Sue Walsh.

She was recruited to UNC by current Tar Heels coach Rich Deselm, whose son Grant is the Chapel Hill starting quarterback. Deselm was an assistant at UNC at the time.

Walsh had to speak at a UNC swimming function and got to the game at halftime. Deselm, as the Tar Heels coach, missed the game.

“It was tough,” Walsh said. “Our families are close and I work out with Rich’s wife twice a week. I saw them at a barbecue on Saturday. I was glad that both of them played well.”

Stankavage rushed for 198 yards and passed for 214.

Deselm passed for 197 yards.

Knightdale takes a break: Knightdale coach Rob Senseney got one of the biggest cheers of a memorable Friday night after a 48-45 win against Garner when he said the team could take Monday off from practice. The Knights have an open date this week before completing the regular season on Nov.8 at home against East Wake.

There were bigger cheers sent the Knights’ way after the win, which clinched the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference championship with two weeks to go in the regular season.

If there was an ideal way to get back to work after registering the biggest win in a program’s history, an open date might be the way to go.

Senseney said the Knights will use this week to heal bumps and bruises and prepare for East Wake and the playoffs.

“We’re going to get ready to play a really talented East Wake team,” Senseney said. “We’ve got a chance to be the No.1 seed, so we’re going to go after that. And since we’re playing East Wake, I don’t think we’ll have any trouble being up for that one.”

Knightdale is 8-1 and should clinch one of the top playoff seeds in the East if it can beat East Wake.

Big return night: Rocky Mount Academy’s Jacob Hunter had a big night for returns in Friday’s 52-6 victory against Cary Christian. He returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown, an interception 50 yards for a touchdown and a fumble 45 yards for another score.

He also had touchdown receptions of 15 and 35 yards.

Rocky Mount Academy is at home Friday against Cary Christian in the first round of the N.C. Independent School Athletic Association playoffs. Southampton (Va.) Academy is the top seed.

Scoring points: Southern Durham (7-2 overall, 5-0 Big Eight 3A) has been prolific since beginning conference play. The fewest points the Spartans have scored against league opponent is 45, in a 45-28 win against Cardinal Gibbons.

Southern Durham is averaging 58 points in its five Big Eight games. The Spartans pounded Cedar Ridge 68-10 last week.

Stevens: 919-829-8910

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