DURHAM — The Cardinal Gibbons and Southern Durham rematch went down to the final play. But what happened on that final play won’t be clear for quite some time.
Down 33-28 with 1.9 seconds on the clock, Gibbons was on the 13-yard line with the clock set to run on the snap.
The clock ran, then stopped. The ball was snapped, then a whistle blew. Southern Durham rejoiced in its win, but quarterback Shawn Stankavage still had the ball in his hand in an apparent live ball situation.
With players around him celebrating or protesting, Stankavage’s throw to Dante DiMaggio was broken up by one of the few Spartans who hadn’t stopped on the play. It was the second time on the night where Stankavage had thrown for DiMaggio while Spartans celebrated around him, but unlike a wild third-quarter play, this one didn’t result in a score.
Southern is marching on to the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3AA playoffs, where it will host Orange next Friday.
The rematch between Big Eight 3A Conference foes Gibbons and Southern lived up to the billing for more reasons than its ending.
Southern Durham (10-2) took a 7-0 lead on Gibbons after a 9-yard run by Kendall Hinton with 6:48 left in the first quarter. Gibbons answered with a 3-yard run by Stankavage with 1:15 left in the first quarter.
It was Cardinal Gibbons’ special teams that kept the Crusaders close in the first half.
The Crusaders’ ensuing kickoff was sky-high and short and fell in-between two Spartans players. Gibbons recovered, then used the short field to take the lead on a 3-yard run from Peyton Offnick that made the score 13-7 after the two-point conversion failed.
Gibbons recovered its next kickoff as well, this one an onsides kick.
The Crusaders had five possessions and 48 plays before Southern had ran its eighth play.
The Gibbons drive stalled at the 30, however, and Southern marched down the field to regain the lead on a 1-yard Hinton sneak.
Hinton was picked off by Gibbons’ Scott Henion in the end zone at halftime, but Southern still led 14-13.
Just 59 seconds into the third quarter, Southern – set up with only 21 yards to go after recovering and returning an onsides kick – scored on a 6-yard run from Jordan Brown to lead 21-13.
Gibbons was snuffed on a 4th-and-goal try from the 1 later in the quarter.
The next time Gibbons was down there, it ended in the game’s wildest touchdown.
Stankavage was rolling out when he was thrown to the turf and fumbled on 4th-and-4. A Southern player went for the ball, but didn’t collect it and pointed outward to celebrate what he thought was a sack.
But Stankavage had fumbled before his knee hit the ground. While Southern began making its way off the field, Stankavage got to his feet, picked up the ball and fired in a 4-yard touchdown to DiMaggio to tie it at 21-all on the last play of the third quarter.
Southern had its answer on a 48-yard bomb from Hinton to N.C. State recruit Maurice Trowell to go up 27-21 after a missed extra point. Gibbbons scored on a 1-yard Stankavage run to go up 28-27, then forced Southern to go 3-and-out and set up its next drive at the Southern 27 after a shanked punt.
Gibbons missed the field goal, then Southern worked its two-minute drill with Hinton finding Trowell from 20 yards out with 52.5 points that held as the game winner.
Gibbons started its last drive with 44.8 secons on the clock and Stankavage found Earl Gill on a 34-yard pass that took nine seconds off the clock to set up the final controversial play.
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