The Cardinal Gibbons Chiefs proved last week that they could win without starting quarterback Nik Scalzo, who tore his ACL two weeks ago in the Class 5A regional semifinals
The Chiefs did it again on Friday night, and a bigger reward came with it.
Cardinal Gibbons defeated Tampa Jesuit 14-3 to advance to the Class 5A state finals. The Chiefs didn’t do a lot offensively with backup Brody Palhegyi under center, but he didn’t need to.
The defense that carried them to the victory.
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Defensive end Khris Bogle, who is being recruited by both Alabama and the University of Miami, said the process didn’t distract him this week.
“I just wanted to focus on the season,” Bogle said. “This week motivated me to go harder this week.”
Late in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs defense stiffened Jesuit quarterback Kiael Kelly. Up 11, Cardinal Gibbons sacked Kelly four times during the latter stages of the game. After that, the Chiefs just held the ball for the victory.
“We’re going to state,” head coach Matt Dubuc said after the game. “One more win, one more.”
Jesuit got the ball to begin the game but was unable to do anything with it. After a drive where they were moving the ball down the field, the Chiefs defense forced the fumble as linebacker Travis Robinson was able to recover the ball in Jesuit territory.
On the very next drive, Cardinal Gibbons running back Vincent Davis fumbled the ball away as Jesuit was able to recover it.
After a three and out, Cardinal Gibbons was set to get the ball right back. But Michal Antoine muffed the punt as Jesuit was able to recover it in excellent field position.
Kicker Cade Freeman got Jesuit on the board with a 25-yard field goal to give Jesuit the early 3-0 lead in the first quarter.
On the next drive, Cardinal Gibbons responded with a 72-yard touchdown pass from Palhegyi to Jordan Freeman. The extra point made it 7-3 with 3:15 left in the first quarter.
After a 60-yard run by Vincent Davis, kicker Montiel Danton missed a 35-yard field that would have put Cardinal Gibbons up seven points.
After both teams went back and forth, Jesuit had an opportunity to score to a touchdown to go up 10-7. But a pass was intercepted in the end zone.
Between the second and third quarter, neither team scored a point. But Cardinal Gibbons was able to put the game away in the fourth quarter.
Palhegyi completed a 50-yard touchdown pass wide receiver Coleman Bennett with 11:35 left in the fourth quarter which put the game on ice.
Cardinal Gibbons will play North Marion in the Class 5A finals in Orlando next Friday. North Marion advanced after defeating Trinity Christian 29-25.