Duval Sports

Gilbert wins 76th in a row and sends a message as well

EASTSIDE – They know every time they take the field, there will always be a huge target on their backs; however Matthew Gilbert players and coaches gladly welcome the weekly challenge.

Yet despite going 88-4 since 2006, many believe this is the year Gilbert finally goes down.

Good luck with that.

Kirby Smith gave Gilbert its best shot but came up empty in a 36-0 loss Tuesday night at Jackson Stadium.

Kirby Smith gave Gilbert its best shot in a key North Division game.

With a massive offensive line, Kirby Smith figured they could bully their way down the field and limit the Panthers possessions.

Unfortunately, Gilbert didn’t give them any opportunities too.

Jaheim Singletary took the opening kickoff back 70 yards to give Gilbert a 8-0 lead seconds into the game.

That mammoth line had no answer for the quick defensive line throughout the game.

Gilbert forced a quick three and out on the Comets opening possession.

Jeremiah Huntley took a hand off from quarterback Carleton Butler and ran left and nearly out of bounds for cutting back right and across the other side of the field racing 42 yards for a 14-0 early in the first quarter.

Kirby Smith finally picked up a first down but was forced to punt it back just a few plays later.

Kareem Burke raced 55 yards for an apparent touchdown on the ensuing play but it was called back at the 10 yard line for a late block in the back.

A few plays later Butler snuck in from the 1 yard line on fourth and goal to give Gilbert a 22-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Another three and out led to another quick score for the Panthers.

Butler found Singletary wide open along with Gilbert sideline for a 50 yard touchdown completion and 28-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

Kirby picked up their second first down of the game but an interception a few plays later led to another apparent Gilbert score.

Butler scrambled 38 yards untouched for an apparent score but it was called back bringing the half to a close and Gilbert up 28-0 at halftime.

As the second half began, Burke scored on a 10 yard run and added the two point conversion to give Gilbert a 36-0 lead.

Gilbert coaches began to clear the bench in the final two quarters as best as they could despite a disfunctional scoreboard and not knowing how much time was left.

As the officials raised the ball in their hands signaling the game was over; the Panthers claimed their 13th straight overall win and their 76th consecutive regular season win and also sent a message to everybody in the North Division as well bring it on.

The lack of respect across the board including being ranked No. 2 in the Duval Sports poll seems to be fueling them each week as Gilbert coach Charon Dorsey and defensive coordinator Mike Holloway pointed out.

“Our kids are ticked off and don’t understand why they are not No. 1 right now,” Dorsey said. “It’s time to go get it.”

“That’s what fueling them right now,” Holloway stated. “We know Ribault has good athletes but we can’t control how the poll goes were No. 2 for now but we will be No. 1 soon.”

Gilbert (2-0) hosts Highlands next Tuesday at 5:30 before the showdown with Ribault Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at Gilbert.