By Bonitta Best
RALEIGH - Both Cardinal Gibbons and East Chapel Hill starting running backs wear the same numbers. But it was the No. 8 worn by Crusaders RB Tim Buckley that proved to be unstoppable Friday night.
Buckley rushed for 184 yards and four touchdowns in just three quarters of play to lead Cardinal Gibbons to a 40-28 win over the Wildcats. Buckley ran for 133 yards in the first half alone as the Crusaders offensive line pounded ECHHS for 334 on the ground.
"The line was really blocking for me tonight," Buckley said. "I thought with the way we played against Clayton last week, even though we lost, that we could have a good game tonight."
Buckley gave the Crusaders their biggest lead, 40-7 with 5:21 left in the third quarter on a 45-yard run straight up the middle.
But give the Wildcats credit. They didn't fold. A 30-yard strike from QB Drew Davis to Merritt Smith made it 40-14 just before the start of the fourth. A fumble recovery aided in another TD pass, this time from Davis to Quadry Ridley to trail 40-21.
After a messed 38 yard FG by Cardinal Gibbons with 3:47 left in the game, Davis found Jackson Boyer for 59 yards at the Crusaders 25. Davis then threw his third TD of the game to Ellis Jeffay before time ran out.
"Give them credit for not quitting," Crusaders coach Henry Trevathan said. "They didn't give up."
The Crusaders made their statement early, scoring on their first three possessions: a 15-touchdown yard run by Ben Grazen and two TD runs of 47 yards and 36 yards by #8 to take a 19-0 lead. About the only thing they did wrong was missed two point-after attempts.
The Wildcats then put together their best drive of the first half, traveling 66 yards on 11 plays to close to 19-7.
But Cardinal Gibbons, or rather Grazen, struck right back. Grazen returned the kickoff 40 yards to the ECHHS 40, then scored two possessions later on runs of 37 and 3 yards for a 26-7 lead at the half.