BURLINGTON – Now that was fast.
Behind blazing team speed and a super-fast sophomore under center, Cathedral ran away with a 30-14 win over North Shore at Varsity Field in Burlington Tuesday, clinching its second consecutive Division 4A Super Bowl berth.
And anyone who has caught a glimpse of the Panthers’ speed knew from the start it wouldn’t take long before they rushed back to the big game.
“I don’t know if there’s anyone in the state that’s as fast as we are, to be honest,” said Cathedral coach Duane Sigsbury. “We have a special group of kids and they absolutely worked their tails off.”
After Cathedral quarterback Kejonte Hickman ran for the majority of his 197 in the first half, including back-to-back scoring runs of 50-plus yards in the first quarter, North Shore coach Paul Worth could only echo Sigsbury’s praises.
“I think the bottom line is it took us a half to catch up to their speed, their overall team speed both offensively and defensively, and that was really the bottom line,” said Worth.
The Bulldogs (8-4) trailed, 22-0, at halftime, before getting on the board with 12 seconds left in the third quarter on a 1-yard burst by Ross Murphy.
The score was a result of North Shore switching to a hurry-up offense in the second half. It helped, as Murphy scored again on a 2-yard rush with two minutes left in the game to cut the deficit to 16, but it was too little, too late.
“We blocked them pretty well in the second half, but we did not do that in the first half,” said Worth. “It’s very difficult to duplicate that kind of team speed preparing for a game like this because we don’t have that on our team. We hadn’t seen that kind of speed all year long.”
The backfield duo of Hickman and Jermal Brevard-Jackson (112 yards, two touchdowns) was lethal for the Panthers (10-2). Combined, they rushed for 309 yards and four touchdowns. The duo outgained North Shore’s total rushing by 121 yards.
Brevard-Jackson opened scoring with a 1-yard touchdown and scored from 5 yards in the fourth, but Hickman was the engine that kept the Panthers trucking.
“He’s the best,” said Sigsbury. “He’s 5 foot 7, 140 pounds if we’re lucky, and he’s just phenomenal. There isn’t another quarterback I want running this team right now, because he is special.”
After clinching his second Super Bowl appearance in his second season at the helm, Sigsbury made it clear there will be no time wasted.
“We’re going to enjoy this one for the next 20 minutes, and then get busy.”
Cathedral will play Madison Park for the Division 4A championship Saturday at Gillette Stadium at 9 a.m.