Undefeated Cardinal Gibbons simply had too many weapons against a banged-up Ravenscroft team Friday night. Even with standout running back Ben Grazen on the sideline with back stiffness after scoring the first two Crusaders TDs, Cardinal Gibbons rolled to a 49-17 victory.
By Bill Woodward
RALEIGH – Undefeated Cardinal Gibbons simply had too many weapons against a banged-up Ravenscroft team Friday night.
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Even with standout running back Ben Grazen on the sideline with back stiffness after scoring the first two Crusaders TDs, Cardinal Gibbons rolled to a 49-17 victory.
“We were focused all week on coming out here and executing well,” Cardinal Gibbons coach Steve Wright said. “We had our up and downs. We certainly are pleased with win, but there are some things that we need to work on if we are going to get to where we want to be.”
Grazen had TD runs of 19 and 41 yards in the first quarter and had 91 yards rushing on only six carries, but left with back stiffness. Grazen came into the game with 303 yards for the Crusaders, ranked eighth in The News & Observer’s poll.
With Grazen sitting out the final three quarters, the offensive load fell to junior quarterback Shawn Stankavage, the son of former North Carolina quarterback Scott Stankavage.
The Crusaders quarterback threw for a pair of touchdown and 117 yards in the opening half as Gibbons built a 33-3 halftime bulge. Cardinal Gibbons also got touchdowns from D.J. Smith and Danny Schult as it led 46-10 after three quarters.
“You’ve got have more than one weapon to succeed at the high school level in this state,” Wright said. “Shawn played well. I was real pleased with the way he passed the ball, especially when we got into the second quarter.
“He made some good reads and good throws. We are going to need both of them. There is no question he kind of carried us through that rough patch and got our offense going again.”
Ravenscroft (1-3) was without starting quarterback Jamie Herkavich, the team’s leading rusher and passer. Herkavich, who had 201 yards rushing and 450 yards passing in the Ravens’ first three games, was out with an injured shoulder.
Ravenscroft tried junior LJ Young and sophomore Jacob Lamb at quarterback, but the inexperienced Ravens could never get it going offensively. Sophomore Crawford Sloan was the Ravens’ point man, scoring on a 96-yard kickoff return and a 13-yard run in the second half.
“It’s a little difficult when you lose your trigger man like that, when you have a team like we have that is extremely inexperienced,” Ravenscroft coach Ned Gonet said of Herkavich, who separated his right shoulder last week. “Let’s give credit to Cardinal Gibbons. There are a good, well-drilled team. They played hard.
“We had some chances early. The whole key for us was for us to be able to move the ball and control the clock. We had some drives but not getting points put our defense on the field too much.”
And Stankavage and crew, who run a shotgun and up-tempo offense, were up to the task even without Grazen.
“Without Ben Grazen, I felt like I had to step up,” Stankavage said. “And I thought we did today. D.J. Smith played really well tonight. I thought the two [second-quarter] touchdown passes were crucial for us to keep it going.”
Stankavage finished 11-for-21 for 127 yards with an interception. He also rushed for 60 yards on 10 carries.