Larry Blustein

FRIDAY FOCUS – Cardinal Gibbons, Dubuc Chasing History

Larry Blustein
December 07, 2018 - 9:18 am

As 16 schools head to Orlando this weekend for the state football championships, many have some tremendous stories to tell. But very few can claim the path that Cardinal Gibbons’ head coach Matt Dubuc has traveled.

The one-time star baseball and football prospect for the Chiefs and Texas Tech University – Dubuc finally reached the top of the mountain as a coach – after accomplishing it as a player back in 1990.

What he learned from his own football coach Don Marino and former head coach Matt Morrill has been very instrumental in his own development as a head coach.

After losing the first two games of the year to Miami Central and Milton (Ga.), this team began to focus – and with some of the best assistant coaches in south Florida – Dubuc and the Chiefs started to get the focus back.

Remember, many who follow this game chose the Chiefs as a team that had the best chance of reaching Orlando – despite the fact they hadn’t beaten the district rival American Heritage in over two decades.

Not only did Cardinal Gibbons knock off the two time defending 5A state champions during the regular season, but also managed to do it in the playoffs.

This afternoon (3:00), Dubuc and his team, which won a first district title since 1994, will enter Camping World Stadium for a chance to win a state title when they play Citra North Marion in a game that will certainly put an end to a story that is many years in the making.


In addition to the 5A state title game, today will also watch two other south Florida programs going after state titles.

This morning at 10, Hialeah Champagnat and first year head coach Hector Calvijo will look for a repeat as the Lions take on Tallahassee North Florida Christian. This is the third year this program has made the finals.

With many games capturing the attention of fans, this evening’s (8:00) matchup between unbeaten Lakeland and once beaten St. Thomas Aquinas is sure to bring in the fans.

This meeting brings up some great memories of meetings in the past.


As today promises to be a really impressive day, Saturday will also highlight some quality matchups as well.

Defending 3A state champion Chaminade-Madonna will be after another state title, beginning the day at 10. The Lions and head coach Dameon Jones will take on a very talented King’s Academy. This is the third straight trip to Orlando.

For Miami Northwestern and head coach Max Edwards, just getting to Camping World Stadium for Saturday’s 3 p.m. rematch with Armwood has been amazing.

The Bulls were 5-5- in the regular season after dropping key district games to Central and Carol City, but have gone on quite a run in the playoffs with wins at Daytona Beach Mainland, Heritage in Palm Bay, a shocking win against Central and then last week’s dismantling of Naples for the second straight week.

For Christopher Columbus and head coach Chris Merritt, this third trip to a state championship may indeed work out fine for this unbeaten (14-0) program that lost to Carol City, only to gain a forfeit win.

When they lineup against surprising Jacksonville Mandarin at 8 p.m.


2A – Hialeah Champagnat Catholic (8-5) vs. Tallahassee North Florida Christian (8-4), Friday, 10 a.m.

5A – Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons (12-2) vs. Citra North Marion (12-2), Friday, 3 p.m.

7A – Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas (13-1) vs. Lakeland (14-0), Friday, 8 p.m.


3A – West Palm Beach The King’s Academy (13-1) vs. Chaminade-Madonna (11-2), Saturday, 10 a.m.

6A - Miami Northwestern (9-5) vs. Seffner Armwood (13-1), Saturday, 3 p.m.

8A – Miami Christopher Columbus (14-0) vs. Jacksonville Mandarin (10-4). Saturday, 8 p.m.

PHOTO COURTESY OF - AH360 Photography

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