High School Football, North Carolina State Finals, Chambers vs Gibbons

Cardinal Gibbons' Will Mason (1) reacts after being named Defensive Player of the Match when he defeated Julius Chambers in the NCHSAA 4A Football Championship game.  The Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders and the Julius Chambers Cougars met during the NCHSAA 4A Championship soccer game in Raleigh, NC on December 11, 2021.

Cardinal Gibbons’ Will Mason (1) reacts after being named Defensive Player of the Match when he defeated Julius Chambers in the NCHSAA 4A Football Championship game. The Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders and the Julius Chambers Cougars met during the NCHSAA 4A Championship soccer game in Raleigh, NC on December 11, 2021.


RALEIGH – For Cardinal Gibbons quarterback Connor Clark, a touchdown pass to Maverick Shotwell after a stop-and-go run to the right corner of the end zone was so enjoyable they did it twice .

Clark and Shotwell’s near-carbon connection with 7:41 remaining in the third quarter earned the Crusaders the first double-digit lead in Saturday’s NC 4A State Final against Julius Chambers of Charlotte at Carter-Finley Stadium in the ‘State NC.

The Cougars never got together.

Clark-Shotwell’s second touchdown – this time for 74 yards – set a 14-2 score that became final and secured Cardinal Gibbons’ very first state football championship.

“This school has been in existence for 113 years, and this is the first time that we have won a state title in football,” Cardinal Gibbons coach Steven Wright said.

Cardinal Gibbons also became the first school located in Raleigh to win an NCHSAA State Football Championship since Team Broughton in 1970.

“I received an email from a member of the 1970 Broughton High School State Championship team this week,” Wright said. “There have been a lot of cities that have been very successful over the years. It’s nice to bring one home.

Cardinal Gibbons set a school record for wins in his 30th football season since the program was rejuvenated in 1992. The Crusaders canceled their season-opening setback on August 20 – a 35-29 Chambers victory over the counter. from Carter-Finley Stadium on Cardinal Gibbons Campus Edwards Mill Road.

Chambers were a second-half team this season and scored 21 points in the final two minutes last week against Hough. But the Cougars were limited to 52 total yards in the second half.

Cardinal Gibbons’ second-half shutout earned Crusaders defensive coordinator Nick Drew the accolade for top units that held the teams in North Carolina’s last two games “Mr. Football Winners – Daylan Chambers’ Smothers (last spring) and Cleveland-Clayton’s Omarion Hampton (this fall) – didn’t score a goal after halftime.

“The whole crew showed up tonight and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Wright said of his defense. “They worked so hard for it.”

Chambers (14-2), winner of the last two 4AA State Championships, had nine tackles and two and a half for the loss to Chris Chalk. The Cougars saw their last opportunity broadcast by the interception of Tristan Beasley within four minutes of the last stanza. The Cougars finished with just 114 total yards of attack.

“The conditions were bad. But at the end of the day, it’s football, ”Smothers said. “You have to take care of it. You have to play through it.

Cardinal Gibbons (14-2) struck the first at 4:57 of the first quarter, before pouring rain began to shake the turf and soak spectators at Carter-Finley. Just before the Flood, Shotwell, whose reception on the third down kept the Crusaders’ second practice alive, made a stop-and-go movement before blocking Clark’s 34-yard pass for a touchdown.

“I was just getting used to the ball,” Shotwell said.

Clark’s conversion to Shotwell on the third down was the only successful attempt among the teams’ 12 combined third-down chances in the first half.

“They were both simple roads. The rain and wind affected it too, ”Shotwell continued. “We actually had to take our gloves off because of the rain. “

Much of Wayne Day Family Field was inundated at the start of the second quarter. Both teams were beaten by bad weather in 90 seconds. Cougars fullback Daylan Smothers went wild for a 56-yard rush before a life-saving touchdown inside the 10-yard line and nine-minute mark.

“It was huge. Given the nature of the elements, you have to play every game that is presented to you, ”Chambers coach Glenwood Ferebee said of the two-game streak. “It didn’t work out that way, and it kind of took a little air out of us.”

A game later, Cardinal Gibbons’ Joshua Stoneking recovered a Chambers fumble. The Crusaders, deep in their own territory, missed a kick that punter Ethan Hastings sent out of the end zone for a safety at 7:28 before halftime.

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Cardinal Gibbons’ Carter Scearce (2) slips trying to defend Camren Kennedy (22) from Julius Chambers in the first half. The Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders and the Julius Chambers Cougars met in the NCHSAA 4A Championship Soccer game in Raleigh, NC on December 11, 2021. Steven Worthy newsobserver.com

The teams combined for just 125 yards (64-61 Chambers) of total attack and six first downs in the first half, which ended in a 7-2 score.

Cardinal Gibbons survived the dying minutes of the second quarter without a turnover leading to a score for the first time among the Crusaders’ three State Finals. In 2019, East Forsyth recovered from a fumble for a touchdown. Last spring, Greensboro’s Grimsley turned an interception into a touchdown before heading to the locker room.

The Cougars went without a touchdown for the first time of Ferebee’s three seasons at IBM Drive School.

Cardinal Gibbons finished with 243 total yards, including 119 rushing for Donovan Shepard. Shepard ran for 61 yards on two thirds and 15+ yards to play (one for 41, another for 20) in the fourth quarter.

Defensively, the Crusaders had eight tackles from Will Mason and six tackles each from Ethan Grace and Ryan Ziegler. Grace added a sack and a half and three tackles for a loss.

Cardinal Gibbons dominated the possession time: 29:38 to 18:22.

Steven worthy newsobserver.com

Three who made the difference

Connor Clark, Cardinal Gibbons: The Crusaders junior quarterback threw two touchdown passes and finished with 128 yards in the air.

Jordan Thompson, Rooms: A junior linebacker, Thompson was a thorn in the side of the Cardinal Gibbons offense, with five tackles for a loss.

Tristan Beasley, Cardinal Gibbons: A senior defensive back, Beasley had one interception, one sack and two tackles for a loss.

RAL_121121_CDG_JCH_FB_SW_11 (2)
Steven worthy newsobserver.com

To note

â–ª I can’t get enough Cardinal Gibbons vs. Chambers? The two teams open their 2022 seasons next August against each other. Chambers will be the home team.

â–ª Chambers was one of two teams in this weekend’s state soccer final making a fourth consecutive appearance in a championship game. The other was Tarboro, in 1A.

â–ª While Saturday night’s loss was a disappointment for Chambers fans, they can take comfort in knowing that 10 of the 11 attacking starters return next season.

â–ª Chambers finished with 121 yards of total offense. Cardinal Gibbons had 246.

â–ª The most efficient runner was Cardinal Gibbons’ Donovan Shepherd, who carried 16 times for 112 yards.

Game statistics

Bedrooms 0 2 0 0 – 2

Cardinal Gibbons 7 0 7 0 – 14

CG: Maverick Shotwell 34 assist from Connor Clark (Colin Blandford kick)

JC: Security; Bettor Cardinal Gibbons kicked the ball out of his end zone

CG: Shotwell 74 pass from Clark (Blandford kick)

This story was originally published December 11, 2021 10:08 pm.

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