In recent years the American Heritage and Cardinal Gibbons football game could be defined as a rivalry.
Now it truly is one.
Senior defensive back Sidney Porter picked off an Edwin Rhodes pass and returned it 70-yards for the clinching touchdown with 21 seconds remaining as Cardinal Gibbons defeated Heritage 24-14 in a District 16-5A game at Heritage Field on Friday.
Heritage had won 11 consecutive games over their district opponent since 2009. The victory also snapped the Patriots’ 15-game winning streak over Broward opponents.
The Chiefs have won five straight games since losing the first two of the season, while improving to 5-2, 3-0 in district. The Patriots fell to 5-2, 2-1.
“I have to get all the credit to cornerback Michal Antoine, who jumped on the bubble rout. The ball bounced out and I took off with it,” Porter said. “I lost to them twice last year. This feel amazing right now.”
After missing a 35-yard field goal with 8:59 to play, Heritage got the ball back with 3:20 left on the clock with the chance to tie or take the lead. The had moved 58 yards to the Gibbons 22 before the interception seal the victory.
“We started off the season with a lot of doubts after an 0-2 start,” Gibbons coach Matt Dubuc said. “We just went out there and executed in the second half.
“I had many sleepless nights leaving this place with bad Saturdays and Sundays. Tonight, is going to be a good Friday night.”
“All of the seniors came out and played with their hears,” Gibbons senior quarterback Nik Scalzo added. “Came out here with a pick-six. What a better way to win like that.”
The Patriots trailed 17-14 after three quarters following a 25-yard field goal from Gibbons senior placekicker Daton Montiel.
The Gibbons victory was a far cry from last year’s Region 4-5A thriller that saw a American Heritage victory 58-57 in triple overtime.
That game had Heritage trailing by 21 late in the first half, then scored 35-consecutive points for a 41-27 lead with 5:55 left in regulation before Gibbons rallied tying the score with 2:06 left.
Teams exchanged a touchdown and field goal in the first two overtimes. The game was decided on a blocked extra point in the third OT period.
A wild and lengthy first quarter had Cardinal Gibbons earn a 14-7 lead.
Gibbons scored on its opening possession, driving 80 yards in seven plays, as Scalzo connected with Troy Stellato for a 15-yard scoring pass in the corner of the end zone.
The Patriots fumbled on their first play as Terry Mareus recovered the loose ball at the Heritage 25. Four plays later the Chiefs led 14-0 after a Tajae Davis, who was playing his first game back from injury, scored from the 1.
Before the quarter would expire, the Patriots cut the deficit in half as Douglas Emilien hauled in a 38-yard touchdown pass from Edwin Rhodes.
Overall the first quarter took 51 minutes to play and included 12 penalties.
Heritage tied the score at 14-14 before the half concluded on a Lavelton Williams 12-yards run with 5:56 to play.
Vincent Davis led the Chiefs running game with 103 yards on 20 carries, while Heritage senior back had 144 yards on 22 carries.