Sophomore quarterback Jones throws three touchdowns to lead Cardinal Gibbons over Clayton 13-5.

Sophomore quarterback Jones throws three touchdowns to lead Cardinal Gibbons over Clayton 13-5.

Cardinal Gibbons took an early lead, but had to defend against a rally from Clayton in the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A football state playoffs.

The Crusaders were ahead 27-7 during the second quarter and maintained their lead to secure a 30-28 victory against the Comets.

The first points of the game were scored by Cardinal Gibbons when Gannon Jones threw a pass to Aiden Smalls, who then passed it to Sean Manuel. The play covered 80 yards and resulted in six points, but the extra point was missed, giving Cardinal Gibbons a 6-0 lead.

The Crusaders scored another touchdown before the first quarter came to a close. Jones completed a pass to Chet Yardley for a 74-yard touchdown, bringing Cardinal Gibbons to a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Jonathan Montague, the quarterback for Clayton, has consistently shown his ability to run throughout the season. He was able to get the Comets on the scoreboard in the second quarter with a 14-yard run, narrowing the score to 13-7.

Jones provided a response, however. The second-year student threw two additional touchdown passes before the halfway mark of the game – one for 23 yards to Nic Leonard and another for 48 yards to Smalls – increasing the Crusaders’ advantage to 27-7.

Before the end of the first half, Clayton was able to score an additional seven points. Montague successfully threw an 18-yard pass to Deon Harris for yet another touchdown for Clayton.

At the end of the first half, Cardinal Gibbons was winning with a score of 27-14.

Montgaue kicked off the second half with a score, reaching the end zone from a yard away and narrowing the Comets’ deficit to 27-21.

In the third quarter, Evan Whitley successfully made a 20-yard field goal for Cardinal Gibbons, increasing the Crusaders’ lead to two scores with a score of 30-21.

The final points of the game were scored by Cardinal Gibbons. However, Clayton prevented the Crusaders from scoring in the fourth quarter. Despite this, Montague managed to score a rushing touchdown, bringing the score to 30-28 with Cardinal Gibbons still in the lead.

Clayton’s attempt came to a halt as the season ended for the Comets.

Next week, Cardinal Gibbons (11-2) will be facing off against (1) Rolesville in the fourth round of the playoffs. In the previous round, the Rams emerged victorious with a score of 69-21 against (25) Fuquay-Varina.

Clayton finished their season with a 10-3 record.