Larry Blustein

FRIDAY FOCUS: Gibbons-Heritage In The Spotlight – Again

Larry Blustein
November 23, 2018 - 10:50 am

Back on October 12th, Cardinal Gibbons football team experienced something that had not happened in 20 years. 

While beating rival American Heritage, 24-14, it not only stopped something that had gone on for years, but gave head coach Matt Dubuc and his team a district title for the first time in over 20 years.

But since that game, which was much anticipated and attended by everyone, both teams have gone down different paths to end up in this evening’s Region 5-4A title game at Cardinal Gibbons.

In the weeks after the matchup at American Heritage, the Chiefs (10-2) reeled off wins against Hallandale (21-0), Stranahan (38-6) and ended the regular season with a convincing win against previously unbeaten McArthur, 21-0.

In the playoffs – with all home games – they beat Merritt Island (49-14) and last weekend against Orlando Jones, 30-27. In that win, the team lost starting quarterback Nik Scalzo.

Suffering an ACL injury, the University of Kentucky commitment is lost for the remainder of his high school career – and sending this program into tonight’s game with a young quarterback.

For head coach Pat Surtain and his two-time defending state champions, the road after that setback to the Chiefs has been about making sure the focus is back on defending their title.

With wins over Miami Jackson (37-20) and Hallandale (37-0) to close out the season, the Patriots (10-1) continued to score points here in the post season – with road victories against Fort Pierce Westwood (37-14) and last week’s convincing win at No. 1 seed Rockledge.

While Scalzo being out is certainly something that will figure heavily, the Chiefs will need to play defense and force turnovers against a program that has shown with senior Tyler Jones that they can move the ball on the ground.

SOME OTHER KEY MATCHUPS

While Cardinal Gibbons and American Heritage are certainly going to capture the attention of many – with the rematch always exciting – there are other games to check out today – and tonight:

8A

No. 6 South Dade (10-2) at No. 1 Christopher Columbus (12-0), 1 p.m., Tropical Park. 

No. 3 Palm Beach Central (11-1) at Deerfield Beach (11-1), 7:30.

7A

No. 2 Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer (11-1) at St. Thomas Aquinas (11-1), 7:30. 

No. 6 Valrico Bloomingdale (11-1) at No. 1 Venice (11-1), 7:30. 

6A

No. 6 Northwestern (7-5) at Miami Central (10-2), 7:30, Traz Powell Stadium.

No. 6 North Fort Myers (9-3) at Naples (11-1), 7:30.

5A

No. 8 Tampa Jefferson (7-5) at No. 2 Tampa Jesuit (11-1), 7:30. 

4A

No. 5 Glades Central (9-3) at University School (10-1), 7:30. 

No. 2 Fort Myers Bishop Verot (9-2) at No. 1 Cocoa (8-3), 7:30. 

3A

No. 3 Delray American Heritage (9-3) at Chaminade-Madonna (9-2), 7:30. 

No. 2 Tampa Berkeley Prep (7-3) and No. 1 Clearwater Central Catholic (11-0), 7:30. 

2A

No. 5 Champagnat Catholic (6-5) at No. 2 Naples St. John Neumann (10-2), 7:30. 

No. 2 Seffner Christian (11-0) at St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut (9-1), 7:30. 

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