Orange kept its unbeaten streak alive with a thrilling 49-28 victory over Cardinal Gibbons in Big Eight conference action.
The win sets up a showdown next Friday at Southern Durham for the conference title.
Defense has been the main staple for the Panthers and Friday night was no different. After allowing 28 points in the first half, Orange shut out the Crusaders in the second.
“I am proud of how they came out in the second half,” Orange coach Pat Moser said. “The defense was shocked by Shawn Stankavage in the first half. He is something else. I’m going to make sure he crosses the stage at graduation.”
Stankavage completed 30 of 46 passes for 404 yards and four touchdowns. He also committed all three turnovers, including two interceptions and a fumble.
The Panthers broke the 28-28 halftime tie with just under two minutes left in the third quarter on Tai Jones’ 37 yard rumble.
Jones, who carried the ball 14 times for 199 yards, put the Panthers up by two touchdowns with another big run, this one a 50-yarder with 8:29 left in the game.
Orange quarterback Garrett Cloer sealed the game with his fourth touchdown pass of the night and his second to Ky Muller for 45 yards for the final score.
Cloer said as “fun” as the win was, there’s one more to go.
“We know if we don’t beat Southern, this game means nothing,” he said. “We will finish in second place.”
The two teams combined for 56 points and 664 yards in the first half. Stankavage had a hand in all four Crusader’s touchdowns: throwing for two — both to wide receiver Dante DiMaggio — and running for two from 5 yards and 1 yard respectively.
Cloer threw three touchdown passes in the first half, two to running back Patrick Pettiford and a 70-yarder to Muller.
Pettiford, who finished with 145 yards, also recovered a teammate’s fumble in the end zone to tie the game at 28.
Moser said Southern is a lot like the Crusaders.
“They have a quarterback that’s hard to tackle and wide receivers that can get open,” he said. “It will be a hard contest for us.”