Orange outlasts Cardinal Gibbons to remain unbeaten
The high-fives had a little extra and the hugs were a little tighter as unbeaten Orange High School celebrated after a terrific 49-28 victory over a potent Cardinal Gibbons team on Senior Night Friday at Auman Stadium.
Overcoming two monstrous individual performances by Crusaders quarterback Shawn Stankavage and wide receiver Dante DiMaggio, the Panthers ran their record to a 10-0 with a Big Eight 3-A conference showdown next week at Southern Durham.
The win locked up a 3-A playoff berth for Orange, which has its sights on much more.
"We're 10-0 and ready to go to the top," said Orange running back Tay Jones, who had a pretty good night himself. "We're ready to get this ring."
Stankavage completed 31 of 44 passes for 416 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 63 more yards. His favorite target was DiMaggio, who hauled in 14 catches for 262 yards and two scores.
But after Orange (6-0 Big Eight) made a second-half adjustment, the Crusaders were unable to get in the end zone.
"We stepped up our game in third and fourth quarter," Jones said. "We did what we needed to do: We stopped the quarterback and stopped the wide receiver. He got tired in the second half because he was getting hit hard."
Jones, who rushed for 255 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, was one of the players assigned to DiMaggio in the second half after assistant coach Van Smith changed his plan. The quickest Orange players were called on to check DiMaggio, with Patrick Pettiford, Jones, Ky Muller and Piscatello rotating on the Gibbons receiver.
"We started putting the fastest guys we had on the team on DiMaggio," Panthers coach Pat Moser said. "We rotated those guys every two or three plays. (DiMaggio) is phenomenal. Coach Smith, by adjusting and putting some speed on him and then we double-covered him, we were trying to keep the ball out of his hands."
DiMaggio had four catches for 67 yards in the second half but was kept out of the end zone. Meanwhile, Orange kept up the pressure offensively. A Stankavage 2-yard run late in the second quarter tied the game at 28 as the two teams traded big plays in the first half.
"The defense was shocked at the start of the game with Stankavage," Moser said of the senior QB. "Boy, he's something else.
"When he graduates, I'm going to go and make sure he crosses the stage and is out of there. I'm telling you what, he's a great quarterback and a great kid. I wish him well."
The Crusaders (7-3, 4-2) were fortunate not to go into halftime trailing 35-28 after Orange's Michael Bolden fumbled near the Gibbons goal line.
"I wasn't real sure how much that was going to hurt us," Moser said. "I was thinking, 'I sure wish we had the lead going into halftime instead of being tied.'"
He didn't have to worry. Jones scored on a brilliant 47-yard run late in the third quarter, and then darted 50 yards for another score on the Panthers' first drive of the fourth.
"The offensive line did great," Jones said. "We'd run counters where we'd go one way, but the guards pull. They did a great job this week, and worked their butts off."
Garrett Cloer (9-of-11 for 222 yards and three TDs) completed the scoring with a 45-yard pass to Muller, who caught three passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
Orange 49, Cardinal Gibbons 21
CG: Shawn Stankavage 5 run (Brandon Loy kick), 9:50
O: Patrick Pettiford 28 pass from Garrett Cloer (kick failed), 8:49
CG: Dante DiMaggio 40 pass from Stankavage (Loy kick), 7:05
O: Ky Muller 70 pass from Cloer (Cloer run), 6:47
CG: Dimaggio 56 pass from Stankavage (Loy kick), 2:18
O: Pettiford 2 run (Brad Barbee kick), :31
O: Pettiford 9 pass from Cloer (Barbee kick), 7:34
CG: Stankavage 2 run (Loy kick), 4:53
O: Tay Jones 47 run (Barbee kick), 1:47
O: Jones 50 run (Barbee kick), 8:29
O: Muller 45 pass from Cloer (Barbee kick), 3:57
RUSHING–Cardinal Gibbons: Stankavage 26-63, Peyton Offnick 10-51, David Smith 1-5; Orange: Jones 17-255, Pettiford 13-102, Michael Bolden 5-35, Mark Holt 3-17, Cloer 1-0, Seth Mathis 1-(minus-23).
PASSING–Cardinal Gibbons: Stankavage 31-44-2 416; Orange: Cloer 9-11-0 222.
RECEIVING–Cardinal Gibbons: DiMaggio 14-262, Earl Gill 9-61, Christopher Gorman 2-39, Offnick 3-32, Loy 2-22; Orange: Muller 3-139, Pettiford 2-75, Jones 1-8.
Records–Cardinal Gibbons 7-3, 4-2 Big Eight 4-A; Orange 10-0, 6-0