RALEIGH — Neither rain, nor lightning, nor a 90-minute delay could keep Cardinal Gibbons from extending its unbeaten string in the Carolina 3A Conference.
Junior quarterback Shawn Stankavage threw three first-half touchdown passes and passed for 298 yards as the Crusaders cruised to a 45-14 victory over Chapel Hill in the conference opener for both teams.
Gibbons (6-0, 1-0 Carolina 3A) entered the conference four years ago and has never lost a Carolina 3A game. The Crusaders, ranked No. 6 in The News & Observer poll, won their 16th straight conference game.
Chapel Hill (5-2, 0-1) lost for the second straight week after winning its first five games.
Stankavage was on target all night, finishing 18-for-22 through the air.
The Crusaders managed to get a quick score in before rain and lightning halted the action for an hour and a half.
On Gibbons’ first play from scrimmage, Stankavage threw a long lateral to flanker Dante DiMaggio, who found Trevor Zaruba for a 40-yard gain.
Three plays later, Stankavage threw and 18-yard TD pass to Ben Grazen.
Then the storm hit.
After play was resumed, Stankavage kept finding open receivers. He had a 38-yard scoring strike to Nick Holloway and a 22-yarder to Zaruba and finished the first half with 13 completions in 15 attempts for 189 yards.
Stankavage was so effective in the opening half that after string of penalties gave the Crusaders a first-and-41, he was able to pick up the first down and eventually complete the drive with the 22-yarder to Zaruba.
Grazen tacked on a fourth first-half TD on a 5-yard run with 5:24 left in the second quarter, and the
Crusaders went into the locker room with a 28-0 lead.
The Crusaders led 38-0 before Chapel Hill’s Darius Allen returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown.
A 14-yard touchdown pass from Tigers quarterback TJ Johnson to Eddie Burgard accounted for Chapel Hill’s final TD.