St. Petersburg, FL – By the look of the crowd one would have guessed a junior varsity game was taking place more so than one of the top varsity teams in Hillsborough County coming to visit. Very light fan fare on both sides of the field didn’t stop Tampa Catholic and Gibbs from providing a super entertaining game.
The Crusaders entered the game at 3-2. Several of their games have been cancelled (most not rescheduled) this season, so the Crusaders were in much need of a competitive contest to prepare them for playoff play…Result of Lakeland Christian game will determine their post season future. Gibbs crawled Into the game with just one win on the season but very much in the playoff hunt. Only district loss was to Lakewood.
Tampa Catholic played very lethargic for two and a half quarters. Offensive miscues, defensive alignment errors and turnovers gave Gibbs more opportunities than TC would have liked and the underdog Gladiators fought and put TC on the ropes.
Tampa Catholic struck first when Deshard Hughes intercepted a Gibbs pass, made a few moves and scored all after QB Charlie Dean fumbled on the first snap of the game. Gibbs would answer back with a lengthy, time consuming drive and two- point conversion to go up by one point. Catholic would answer back with a 3-play drive capped off by an Ahmarean Brown misdirection play for a TD and extra point.
Tampa Catholic running back and Auburn commit Devan Barrett got into the act scoring the Crusaders next touchdown untouched. Barrett was steady. Did more grunt work. Gibbs limited his big play ability. The senior tailback worked for every yard he gained showing grit and toughness.
Gibbs would not go away. After another TC turnover, Jermaine Ivery hit Quandale Inman on a slant for Gibbs second score of the night (failed 2point conversion) to end the half.
To make matters worse for Tampa Catholic and great for Gibbs, Gladiators Inman returned the second half opening kickoff to the house pulling Gibbs within one point. Two point conversion would fail. Score stood at 21-20 Tampa Catholic. That would be it for Gibbs as Zander Lamay and the TC defense had enough. They put their foot down and limited Gibbs offensive production for much of the remainder of the game.
Tampa Catholic QB Austin Sessums completed some passes, rushed for a few TDs in the second half…basically made sure the defense knew he was and impact players. A. Brown scored another TD so he could have bragging rights over Devan Barrett on the bus ride home. Jalen Bussey would conclude the second half scoring affair of Tampa Catholic with a short TD run to earn himself some ink on BCP (haha). Final Tampa Catholic 49 Gibbs 20