Hillside and Northern Durham have finished first and second in the PAC 6 football conference for the past three years, but after an undefeated start to nonconference play, second-year member Cardinal Gibbons is looking like it may be ready to crash the party.
Gibbons and its gunslinger quarterback Anton Stoneking extended their win streak to four with a 42-32 at Broughton (2-2) Friday night.
“We’re 4-0, and if you had told me before the season that we’d be 4-0, I’d take it all day long,” Gibbons coach Steven Wright. “We’re looking at Cedar Ridge … but regarding the PAC 6, until someone knocks Hillside off the top of the hill, they’re the ones to beat. There’s no question.”
Just as it did two weeks prior in a 55-point showing against Southern Durham, Gibbons came out striking quickly as Stoneking hit Jack Biestek for a 71-yard touchdown on the second play of the night. From there, the Crusaders never looked back.
The Capitals, despite a late rally, dropped their second consecutive game after wins against Southwest Wake’s Cary and Apex to open the season.
“We were a couple breaks in the first half from being tied or ahead and in the second half I couldn’t be prouder of them,” Broughton coach Chris Dawson said. “Even if we’d won, I don’t think I’d feel any better than I do about our effort in the second half.
Leading 21-7 at halftime, Gibbons opened the third quarter by recovering its own onside kick. Just over three minutes later, running back Dalen Spruill scampered 15 yards to give the Crusaders their first three-score lead of the game.
THREE TO KNOW
Trevor Kirsch, Cardinal Gibbons: The senior linebacker harassed the Broughton passers all night with his rushes off the edge.
Jack Biestek, Cardinal Gibbons: 14 rushing attempts for 76 yards and two touchdowns; five receptions for 127 yards and one touchdown.
Sam Thorne, Broughton: The 295-pound tackle helped create running lanes for Cliff Chavis and Deontay Washington.
BY THE NUMBERS
3: Touches by Broughton’s Devone Jackson. One was a 9-yard rushing touchdown and the other was a 68-yard passing score to Tyair Smith.
20.5: Yards per completion for Gibbons’ Stoneking. Stoneking finished 12-for-18 for 246 yards and two touchdowns.
6: Defensive starters Gibbons was missing due to injuries.
64: Yards that Broughton linebacker Tobin Petrie ran on a pick-six in the first quarter – the Capitals’ only score of the first half.
100: Completion percentage for Broughton’s backup quarterback, Gordon Guest. Guest went 3-for-3 for 31 yards after replacing Cliff Chavis.
THEY SAID IT
“The boys are starting to believe they have a lot of potential and they’re starting to learn what it takes to realize that potential,” Dawson said. “We’re having to unlearn a lot of really bad habits from the past few years and they’re working really hard to do that.”