Cardinal Gibbons’ dream season ended Friday night in the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A football playoffs with a 47-33 loss to host Cape Fear.
Cape Fear’s Justice Galloway-Velazquez, who came into the game with over 3,700 yards of total offense on the season, proved once again to be unstoppable as he ran for 219 yards and threw for 115, scoring twice on the ground and tossing a pair of touchdown passes.
Helping the Colts’ cause was a solid start to the game for the Cape Fear defensive unit, which held the Crusaders (12-2) to 26 yards of offense in the opening quarter while Galloway-Velazquez and company went to work.
After Cardinal Gibbons’ second punt in as many possessions, Cape Fear needed just four plays to get on the board with Earlee Melvin doing most of the work, carrying the ball three times including a 28-yard touchdown burst on a pitch to the strong side to give the Mid-South champions the 7-0 lead.
The Colts (14-0) doubled that lead just 16 seconds later as Crusaders quarterback Anton Stoneking had his first pass of the ensuing possession picked off and returned 33 yards for another touchdown by Cape Fear’s Milton Mosley.
After falling behind 20-0 early in the second quarter, the Crusaders finally got into a rhythm.
Dalen Spruill capped off a nine-play, 80-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown, tiptoeing down the sideline to cut the lead to 20-7 as the Crusaders tried to grab the momentum entering the second half.
However, Cape Fear’s offense answered every time Cardinal Gibbons found the end zone in the second half. Melvin found the end zone again in the third quarter and Galloway-Velazquez found Montell Moore on a five-yard touchdown pass to stretch the lead 33-14 at the end of the third period.
Stoneking finished the game with 351 yards passing and three touchdown strikes to Alex Kuzy, who hauled in 10 passes for 221 yards. Spruill led the Crusaders with 70 yards rushing and one touchdown.
Cape Fear will face Scotland County in the 4A East final.