Buckley, Crusaders Handle Vike Gridders
Union Pines dropped a nonconference football game Friday, as Cardinal Gibbons cruised to a 38-7 victory at Woodrow Wilhoit Stadium.
After a scoreless first quarter, the visiting Crusaders, (4-1, out of the 3A Carolina Conference), took a 7-0 lead on an 8-yard run by Timothy Buckley at the 10:07 mark in the second quarter.
Tim Nalesnik’s 32-yard punt return setup the score, giving the Crusader offense a second consecutive short field with which to work. This time, Cardinal Gibbons cashed in as Buckley busted off the right end and crashed across the goal line for the first of his five touchdowns on the night.
The senior running back soon hit pay dirt again, on a 10-yard explosion up the gut making the score 14-0 with 2:18 remaining in the quarter. By halftime Cardinal Gibbons led 17-0, as place kicker Ryan McAnallen made a 31-yard field with 1.8 seconds on the clock.
The Viking defense did a solid job containing the Crusaders on Cardinal Gibbons’ first three possessions, forcing a punt each time. But the Viking offense was virtually non-existent in the opening two periods. Union Pines went three-and-out on its first four possessions, and had seven punts in the first half.
Union Pines’ quarterback Taylor O’Neil was 3-17 passing the ball for 2 yards in the opening half, while the Vikings gained just 21 rushing yards on 10 carries. In contrast, the Crusaders totaled 202 yards of offense from scrimmage in the opening two periods. Included in that tally was 87 yards on five pass completions by quarterback Matthew Koch.
The Viking offense did not convert a first down until their 10th possession of the game. With the score 31-0 in favor of Cardinal Gibbons, senior Chris Rubinosky gained 10 yards on sweep. The run finally moved the chains for Union Pines with just under nine minutes to play in the third quarter. The Vikes picked up two more first downs on the drive before failing to convert on 4th and 5 at the Crusader 34.
Buckley would strike again in the form of a 51-yard touchdown on the Crusaders’ ensuing drive. McAnallen followed with his fifth successful extra point kick, making the score 38-0 in favor of Cardinal Gibbons. It was Buckley’s second long rushing score of the quarter. At the 9:38 mark, he found the end zone for the fourth time in the tilt, on a 36-yard scamper.
Overall, Buckley amassed 202 rushing yards on 18 carries. He finished with 290 all-purpose yards — including an 88-yard kickoff return for a score — and had six tackles along with two pass deflections on defense.
Union Pines avoided the shutout when O’Neil connected with Zak Rodriguez, for a 3-yard score through the air, with 8:14 remaining in fourth quarter. The touchdown capped off a 65-yard drive. Seth Breassale’s kick provided the game’s final margin.
With the loss the Vikings are 2-3 on the season. Union Pines opens its Cape Fear Valley Conference campaign next week at Overhills (0-5) on Friday.
Contact F.W. Manning II at email@example.com
More like this story