Saturday, December 11, 2021

Cardinal Gibbons Wins Its First Football Title in Rain Soaked 4A Game With Julius Chambers

RALEIGH – The 4A state championship is routinely the highlight of state championship weekend in North Carolina. The largest schools in the state, battling it out for football supremacy, meet on the gridiron to decide who has bragging rights to claim themselves as the state's top team. On Saturday night, it was reigning two-time champion Julius Chambers taking on two-time state finalist Cardinal Gibbons. At the end of the night, Cardinal Gibbons was bridesmaid no more, celebrating a 4A state championship with its 14-2 win over Chambers in a rain-soaked matchup.

The Cougars and Crusaders had met earlier in the season, a 35-27 opening week win for Chambers, and the Crusaders were eager for revenge. Mother Nature made herself known during the game, bringing monsoon-like conditions throughout the first half.

In what would seem to be the absolute best timing of the evening, Gibbons got on the board first after a seven-play, seventy-yard drive ended with a thirty-four-yard pass from Connor Clark to Maverick Shotwell. Between the PAT and ensuing kickoff, a wave of heavy rain began to pour from the sky over Raleigh's Carter-Finley Stadium.

The rain caused each team to have trouble with ball-handling and offense the rest of the first half. A punt attempt by Gibbons was botched by a bad snap that went through the end zone to give Chambers their only points of the first half. By the half, it was clear that the team's game plans were going to have to be reworked. The two teams combined for 125 total yards and nine punts during the first half and hoped for better weather in the second half.

Both teams were a bit slow coming out of the half, trading punts, and playing for field position. Gibbons would be the only team to score in the third period as Connor Clark and Maverick Shotwell linked up for the second time of the evening, this one a seventy-three-yard strike to extend the Crusaders' lead to 14-2 going into the final stanza, a lead the team would take to the final whistle.

MVP – Maverick Shotwell - WR (Cardinal Gibbons)
Julius Chambers Def. MOP – Chris Chalk (DE)
Julius Chambers Off. MOP – Daylan Smothers (RB)
Cardinal Gibbons Off. MOP – Connor Clark (QB)
Cardinal Gibbons Def. MOP – Will Mason (CB)