Bolles came roaring out of the gate: on the second play from scrimmage, Kade Frew dashed 60-yards to the end-zone. The Bulldogs had come to play.
And then, it was all Cardinal Gibbons.
The Chiefs (8-1) scored 35 unanswered to hand Bolles (10-3) a 35-21 loss in the Class 4A State Championship Thursday. For the second straight year, Matt Toblin and the Bulldogs come up just short in the final game of the season.
Cardinal Gibbons quarterback Brody Palhegyi was dynamic, finding nine different receivers and throwing for more than 300 yards. One of those receivers, Clemson signee Troy Stellato, had a pair of touchdowns, as did Kamari Moulton. Bolles was able to stop the bleeding late in the fourth quarter when Penn signee Davis Ellis returned a kick-off for a touchdown. Frew then scored his second touchdown of the game with 47 seconds remaining to make it a two score game; then, Bolles recovered an on-side kick to keep the game alive. But it was too little, too late for the Bulldogs: a holding penalty wiped out another big, Frew gain, all but icing the championship for Cardinal Gibbons.
Do not let that recap fool you though: this was a one-score game at half. Bolles only trailed 21-7 to begin the fourth quarter and had plenty of chances. Their defense, led by senior linebacker Mack Marrone, held tough. Uncharacteristic penalties along the offensive line proved critical, including five penalties on one single drive in the second half.
Bolles finishes the season 10-3, and its heralded 2021 senior class finishes their high school careers with an eye-popping, 37 career victories.