Gibbs bruises hand in victory but expected
to play Friday in fourth round Reidsville
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By CHRIS HOBBS
Unofficial game totals from Maiden High’s 37-14 victory at home over Bunker Hill in the third round of the state 2A football playoffs on Friday night:
NO. 5 MAIDEN 37, No. 13 BUNKER HILL 14
Bunker Hill 0 7 7 0—14
Maiden 21 3 7 6—37
M—Chris Culliver 58 pass from Wesley Thompson (Carson Foard kick), 9:57
M—Culliver 24 pass from Thompson (Foard kick), 7:15
M—Raheim Misher 33 pass from Thompson (Foard kick), 0:28
BH—Elijah Boston 33 pass from Redek Robinson (Alan Bahena Soto kick), 8:45
M—FG Foard 32, 0:00
BH—Boston 15 pass from Robinson (Soto kick), 7:18
M—Ben Gibbs 3 run (Foard kick), 5:11
BH—Gibbs 3 run (kick failed), 6:18
First downs 12 21
Rush-yards 32-68 32-143
Passing 18-32-2 18-26-1
Passing yards 201 444
Total offense 269 587
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 5-2
Penalties-Yards 8-54 6-55
BH: Jason Willis 14-51, Ian Smith 1-14, Robinson 10-minus 6, Saeed Nasher 1-2, Xavier McCleave 1-minus 1, Cole Lineberger 5-8. M: Gibbs 25-143, Thompson 6-minus 7, Culliver 1-7.
BH: Robinson 18-33-2 201. M: Thompson 18-26-1 444.
BH: Jason Willis 1-4, Devin Brice 1-44, Boston 11-137, Ayden Killian 1-10, Jaylen Willis 1-6, Lineberger 1-3, McCleave 2-minus 3. M: Gibbs 1-19, Culliver 9-176, Jacob Sigmon 4-155, Alec Hall 1-44, Misher 3-50.
Maiden scored twice in about 2 ½ minutes on passes from Thompson to Culliver of 58 and 24 yards… The first was on the game’s fourth play from scrimmage and the other was one play after Thompson threw 47 yards to Jacob Sigmon… After an interception by Maiden’s Caden Brantley gave the Blue Devils possession at the Maiden 11, Thompson hit three straight passes – the last two of 44 yards to Hall and the next was for 33 yards and a TD to Misher with 28 seconds left in the quarter and a Carson Foard PAT made it 21-0.
After Maiden punted, the Bears forced a turnover (fumble by Gibbs recovered at the Bunker Hill 20 by Walter McGill)… The Bears scored eight plays later on a fourth-and-8 at the Maiden 33, on a pass from Robinson to Boston…After Maiden threw incomplete on fourth-and-7 at the Bears’ 36, Bunker Hill drove to the Maiden 17 before losing a fumble… The drive included a 44-yard pass from Robinson to an all-alone Devin Brice to the Maiden 14… Robinson later fumbled and the Blue Devils turned that into a 32-yard field goal by Foard with no time on the lock, set up by a 68-yard pass from Thompson to Sigmon to the Bunker Hill 15… Maiden led 24-7 at the half.
The Bears had first possession and ended up punting after Hall had sacks for minus 13 and minus 18 yards, the latter forcing a punt…. Four players later, with Maiden going for it on fourth-and-6 ad the Bears’ 36, Thompson was intercepted by Killian… Triggered by a 17-yard run by Robinson for a first down, Bunker Hill scored two plays later when Robinson threw 15-yards to Boston… Maiden scored with five minutes, 11 seconds to go in the quarter on Gibbs’ 3-yard run… Two plays before Gibbs’ run, Thompson threw 33 yards to Sigmon to the Maiden 10…. Bunker Hill then drove from its 28 to the Maiden 31 before Culliver intercepted Robinson in the final 10 seconds of the quarter.
Maiden started the quarter at its 38… After six straight running plays, all by Gibbs, Maiden was at the Bunker Hill 32… On a third-and-5 from the Bears’ 31, Thompson threw 25 yards to Culliver for a first-and-goal at the Bunker Hill 6… Gibbs gained no yards and then 3 yards, scoring from the 3 on third-and goal with 6:18 to play….The Bears punted about 65 seconds later and about a minute later, Gibbs gained 10 yards but fumbled (Kaden Bolick recovery) to give Bunker Hill possession at the Bears’ 29 with 4:06 to play… Maiden was called for pass interference to set the Bears up at their 49; they went for it on fourth-and-1 with Lineberger gaining a yard… Two plays later, the clock read 0:00… Gibbs played with his left hand well wrapped and showed hints of pain (the injury came very early in the game).
On Monday, Maiden head coach Will Byrne said Gibbs’ injury is not a broken bone in his left hand but a bruise, and Gibbs is expected to play in the fourth-round game on Friday night at Reidsville…Maiden improved to 12-1 by beating the Bears (11-2) for the 33rd straight time…Bunker Hill has not beaten Maiden since 1989 (Bunker Hill 24, Maiden 8 at Maiden)…. Maiden is 38-5 versus the Bears since 1980 …Maiden plays at No. 1 Reidsville (11-1) while the opposite bracket is No. 7 Monroe (11-1) at No. 3 Burns (12-1); if Maiden wins, it would play Monroe at home or go to Burns for the West 2A title game …Maiden and Reidsville have never met in postseason football …The Blue Devils’ all-time playoff record is 59-42, and they are 41-18 in home postseason games and 17-21 on the road … This is Maiden’s eighth team to reach 12 or more wins … Maiden teams with 13 or more wins: 14-1 in 004 and 1992, 13-1 a year ago… At 25-2 the past two seasons, the Blue Devils have matched the best record in back-to-back years (the 1992 and 1993 teams were 25-4)… Maiden has now reached the fourth round on seven of 12 chances to do so (1978, 1992, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2021, 2022)…
Bunker Hill completed its 22nd postseason appearance and is 9-22 in the state playoffs (5-3 home, 4-18 away, 0-1 neutral)… The Bears’ previous two trips to the third round were in 1987 (lost 37-0 at Mount Airy) and in 1985 (lost 8-33 at Lexington)… They lost in the first round in their next 10 bids, snapping that with a 2013 road win over Ashe County… Next season, Albert Reid’s third as head coach, the Bears will have a chance to match a school-best four consecutive postseason bids by the 1987 through 1990 teams coached by Randy Faucette… This year’s team has the most wins in back-to-back Bunker Hill seasons (records back to 1959) with 21, eclipsing 19 games won by the 1987 and 1988 teams.
Maiden head coach Will Byrne
On his team’s mindset: “From best player to the player that only plays on special teams… it’s a whole team effort.
“They don’t wanna go home. They are selfless … they believe in each other than and trust each other.”
On not hesitating to ask star wide receiver Chris Culliver before making a play call: “I will ask him if he sees something… do you think you can get open?’
He’ ll say ‘Yeah coach, if they are gonna double me we have a bunch (of weapons). We started (Friday night) trying to find (other) ways to get it to him.”
On an example of how the team is selfless: “Korby Lawing. He was an H-back last year (a spot the Blue Devils’ offense is not geared around this year) and we made him an inside linebacker and he is playing great.
“He’s thrived at it. That’s gotta come from their heart, (contributing) after you are told ‘We’re not gonna use an H-back that much in our offense… but we need you as a linebacker.
“Kudos to him. We’re very proud of the way he has handled it.”
On playing Bunker Hill for the second time this season (36-33 at Maiden earlier), the Blue Devils’ win streak in the series (now 33 games) and trying to drain the emotion and focus on it being first and foremost an important game:: “They (Bunker Hill) were calling it a revenge game. To us, it was another game. We wanted to play them again, too. We knew we were capable of beating them convincingly, as we did.
“It was a win-or-go-home game. We took the rivalry out of it… Win or go home, so we didn’t treat it as a rivalry game.”