Davis, Palhegyi propel Cardinal Gibbons to blowout victory for first state crown
ORLANDO — Cardinal Gibbons coach Matt DuBuc played for the 1990 Chiefs team that had made the program’s only state title game before Friday. That team lost 44-14 to Suwannee Live Oak.
In his third year as his alma mater’s head coach, DuBuc finally got to lift the state championship trophy.
“When I was 17 years old, in high school, I never envisioned [coaching Gibbons to a title],” DuBuc said. “But when I took over and Mike [Morrill] hired me, yeah, hell yeah, I wanted to get back here as the coach and lead a group of young men onto the field and have that opportunity to do something that we weren’t able to get done as a player.”
The Chiefs (13-2), who had trailed 10-3, went on a 45-0 gameending tear and routed North Marion (12-3) in the Class 5A state title game 48-10 on Saturday at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
Gibbons running back Vincent Davis gained 142 total yards and scored two touchdowns, and sophomore Brody Palhegyi improved to 3-0 as the Chiefs starting quarterback — after a seasonending injury to Nik Scalzo — by throwing a touchdown pass and running for another.
“You never know when your moment will come,” Palhegyi said. “My moment came. I took it and ran away with it. I did the best I could do, and it’s crazy how it finished.”
The teams traded field goals on their first drives, but on the Colts’ second possession, quarterback Corey Wilsher suffered an injury that knocked him out for the rest of the game.
Sophomore quarterback Quintin Gross took over for Wilsher and got into the end zone, running for a touchdown from 11 yards out.
The Chiefs couldn’t move the ball on their next drive, but the Colts’ offense faltered. Gross
made an inexperienced mistake, holding onto the ball for a 22-yard sack and forcing North Marion to punt.
The punt ended in disaster for the Colts. Defensive back and Marshall commit Sidney Porter blocked the kick and scooped up the loose ball, scampering 6 yards into the end zone to tie the game at 10.
“We’ve been practicing that all week,” Porter said.
Cardinal Gibbons took the lead with 2:04 left in the second quarter on Daton Montiel’s second short field goal of the game.
Palhegyi tossed a 52-yard touchdown pass to Jake Harrington with 50 seconds left in the first half. He finished the game with 138 passing yards, one passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown.
“Right then and there, we knew were going to do it,” Palhegyi said. “We knew our defense was going to lock it down. We knew were going to finish out strong.”
The Chiefs blew the game open in the third quarter.
Davis, the Gibbons star running back and Pittsburgh commit, scored on a 49-yard run to give Gibbons a 27-10 lead, and junior running back Coleman Bennett punched in a short score to make it 34-10. Palhegyi opened the fourth quarter with his own 6-yard scrambling touchdown, a and Davis added a 3-yard run to start a running clock.
While the Chiefs offense was methodically moving down the field and scoring, the Gibbons defense was dominating Gross and the Colts.
North Marion finished the game with only 109 yards. A tipped-ball pick by Majon Wright set up the Bennett touchdown. Yahweh Jeudy led the Chiefs with 10 tackles and shared one for a loss, and Trevis Robinson, fresh off a school record-setting 5.5-sack game, led the team with a pair of sacks.
“We had a lot of doubters that we weren’t going to beat Heritage, we weren’t going to do this, we weren’t going to win states,” Porter said. “We did all that. We accomplished everything that they said we weren’t going to do.”
Cardinal Gibbons’ Khris Bogle celebrates with his teammates after winning the 5A state championship against North Marion on Friday.
Cardinal Gibbons’ Vincent Davis scores one of his two touchdowns during his team’s 5A championship victory in Orlando.