Southern Durham began its playoff trek toward a second straight N.C. High School Atheltic Association 3AA state championship with a 25-6 win against Big Eight opponent Cardinal Gibbons Friday night.
The Spartans sweep the Crusaders for the season to extend their winning streak to 25 games.
Southern Durham, ranked No. 1 in the state by the Associated Press, missed three field goals and two extra-point attempts.
“We left a lot of points on the board tonight,” Spartans coach Darius Robinson said. “We can’t do that next week against a powerhouse team coming in here.”
But where the offense was lacking, the defense was stellar. Southern Durham sacked quarterback Wesley Wagner six times, intercepted him once and blocked a punt.
Senior middle linebacker Tahj Spivey had five sacks.
“Our defensive line put the pressure on them and opened up the holes for me to get through,” he said. “Our offense wasn’t playing its best so it was up to the defense to pick up the slack.”
Southern Durham led 12-0 at halftime .
Southern Durham drove 47 yards on 10 plays on its first possession and kicked a 25-yard field goal. Southern Durham missed a 39-yard field goal attempt on the ensuing possession.
Southern Durham again was stopped on its next drive at the Crusaders 7.Leonardo Orozco hit another 25-yarder for a 6-0 lead.
The Spartans finally got into the end zone with 1 minute, 25 seconds left in the half. Quarterback Kendall Hinton (12 of 23 for 154 yards and a touchdown) found wide receiver Kaleb Barfield for 37 yards to make it 12-0.
Barfield put Southern Durham up 19-0 at the beginning of the third quarter with a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Jordon Brown made it 25-0 with 4:34 left in the game before the Crusaders cracked the scoreboard on Wagner’s eight-yard connection to William von Jess.