The injury bug hit Northern Durham early and Cardinal Gibbons struck for two first-quarter touchdowns within 15 seconds en route to a 25-7 win Friday night on the Crusaders’ field.
The game that broke a tie for second place in the PAC 6 bumped Gibbons to a 10-1 overall record and 5-1 mark in conference play. Northern dropped to 5-6 and 4-2.
Northern senior running back De’Shi Atkins was hurt after only his second carry of the night, a 34-yard run to the Gibbons 39-yard line. The drive stalled without him as Atkins left with a knee injury and didn’t return.
“That took one thing off the plate,” said sophomore defensive end Jalen Brooks, who flipped from side to create penetration. “I feel sorry for the man. He didn’t get to play the whole game. I was looking forward to going against him.”
Never miss a local story.
Gibbons responded with a six-play, 68-yard touchdown drive that running back Dalen Spruill finished with a 29-yard pass from senior quarterback Anton Stoneking with 5:09 left in the first quarter.
Gibbons followed with an onside kick that David Rowland recovered. One play later Stoneking hit Ebuka Ngwadom with a 45-yard TD pass just 15 seconds after the first TD.
The Crusaders drove 70 yards in six plays for a 25-7 halftime lead. The big plays were a 25-yard completion from Stoneking to Peter Kosnik, a 10-yard defensive penalty and a 19-yard scoring run up the middle by Spruill.
THREE TO KNOW
Anton Stoneking, Cardinal Gibbons: The senior quarterback was 14-of-25 passing for 242 yards with two touchdown tosses.
Jack Biestik, Cardinal Gibbons: The junior caught eight passes for 71 yards.
Brycen Jackson, Northern: The sophomore quarterback was knocked out of the game for two series in the first quarter, but he returned to finish 10-of-22 passing for 131 yards and one touchdown.
THEY SAID IT
“We stepped it up this game on defense. We have to keep this going all through the playoffs.” – Jalen Brooks.
BY THE NUMBERS
1: Wide receiver wearing gold high-top cleats reminiscent of Pro Football Hall of Famer Raymond Berry and his black high tops, but Northern’s Cade Barnhill was anything but a plodder. On his 80-yard touchdown catch-and-run, he stepped out of two tackles.
1: Crossbar hit on a successful 39-yard field goal by Gibbons’ Riley Myer. The end-of-end kick hit the crossbar and skipped through for an 18-0 lead.
289: Total yards Gibbons amassed by halftime. Stoneking completed 13-of-19 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns. The Crusaders also had 55 yards rushing at halftime.
8/85: Penalties and yards for Gibbons despite leading the game from beginning to end.