HILLSBOROUGH — Undefeated Orange took another step towards the Big-8 Conference crown Friday, using 21 unanswered points in the second half at Auman Stadium to pull away from Cardinal Gibbons for a a thrilling 49-28 victory over the Crusaders.
The win sets up a showdown for Orange (10-0 overall, 6-0 conference) next Friday at Southern Durham (9-2, 6-2) for the conference title.
Elsewhere Friday, Northwood fought off Chapel Hill for a 31-24 Charger win in overtime, Hillside ran past East Chapel Hill 52-0, and Graham won 41-13 at Carrboro. Cedar Ridge and Northern Vance postponed their game until 7 p.m. Monday.
In Hillsborough, defense has been the main staple all season for the Panthers, and Friday night was no different. After allowing 28 points in the first half, Orange shut out the Crusaders in the second.
"I am proud of how they came out in the second half," Orange coach Pat Moser said. "The defense was shocked by Shawn Stankavage in the first half. He is something else. I'm going to make sure he crosses the stage at graduation."
Stankavage completed 30 of 46 passes for 404 yards and four touchdowns. He also committed all three turnovers, including two interceptions and a fumble.
The Panthers broke the 28-halftime tie with just under 2 minutes left in the third quarter on Tay Jones’ 37 yard rumble. Jones who carried the ball 14 times for 199 yards, put the Panthers up by two touchdowns with a 50-yard TD with 8:29 left in the game.
Orange quarterback Garrett Cloer sealed the coffin with its fourth touchdown pass of the night and his second to Ky Muller for 45 yards for the final score.
Cloer said as "fun" as the win was, there's one more. "We know if we don't beat Southern, this game means nothing," he said. "We will finish in second place."
The two teams combined for 56 points and 664 yards in the first half. Stankavage had a hand in all four Crusader's touchdowns: throwing for two, both to wide receiver Dante DiMaggio and running for two touchdowns from 5 yards and 1 yard respectively.
Cloer threw three touchdown passes in the first half, two to running back Patrick Pettiford and a 70-yarder to Muller.
Pettiford, who finished with 145 yards, also recovered a teammates fumble in the end zone to tie the game at 28-all.
Northwood wins in OT
At Pittsboro, Kadarus Rone punched in a 2-yard touchdown run in the first overtime period Friday at Charger Stadium to lift Northwood to a 31-24 victory over Chapel Hill in a Big Eight Conference game.
Northwood led 24-17 in the fourth quarter before Chapel hill's Brandon Wendel caught a 5-yard touchdown pass with 17 seconds to play in regulation, forcing overtime.
Northwood started the overtime period with possession, and Rone pounded the ball into the endzone in two plays. DeSelm threw four incomplete passes during his team’s shot at the end zone, the last of which was broken up by junior defensive back Nitrel Evans for Northwood.
27 straight for Hillside
At Wildcat Stadium, Hillside (7-2, 4-0 PAC6) won its 27th straight conference game. Hillside ran in four unanswered scores in the third quarter to pull away from injury-plagued East Chapel Hill (2-8, 1-2).