Family Football Night 2019
Rachelle Garbarine
Cheerleaders and football players at Family Football Night varsity football game.

Under a cloud-filled sky, Gibbons families gathered with families from 12 area middle schools to celebrate an evening of fellowship, football, and fun during Family Football Night 2019.

Family Football Night 2019 before the game.

The much-anticipated annual event took place on Friday, September 13, from 5 – 7 p.m. in the athletics parking lot. During that time attendees took part in a range of activities, from tailgating and face painting to green machine races, before the home varsity football game against Richmond High School. More than 2,000 people attended the event, which is sponsored by the Cardinal Gibbons Family Association.

Many of them stayed for the game, which included a special half-time presentation. That is when North Carolina High School Athletic Association Director Que Tucker presented the 4A Wells Fargo Cup Championship for the 2018-2019 season to the Crusaders. It marked the 14th such honor the Gibbons Athletics received, but the first in the 4A division.

"The atmosphere at Cardinal Gibbons, especially thanks to the community support received on Family Football Night, was a perfect backdrop to spotlight the achievements of the entire Cardinal Gibbons athletic department ..." Que Tucker.

Wells Fargo Cup presentation at Family Football Night 2019.

“No matter the occasion, we are excited to spend time at our member schools enjoying the pageantry and energy of high school athletics,” said Tucker. “The atmosphere at Cardinal Gibbons, especially thanks to the community support received on Family Football Night, was a perfect backdrop to spotlight the achievements of the entire Cardinal Gibbons athletic department in the 2018-19 school year and our 40-year partnership with Wells Fargo to honor the top athletic program in each classification each year.”

Of receiving the honor, Athletic Director Todd Schuler said: "We are so proud to be named the 2018-19 NCHSAA 4A Wells Fargo Cup State Champions. To win the 4A Cup for the 1st time, competing against the largest schools in the state, is a really big deal. This is an award that our whole school community should feel good about. This honor highlights the commitment our student-athletes and coaches have to add to our school's legacy of excellence and to grow as an athletics program rooted in faith formation and leadership development."

The honor added to the excitement and joy that permeated the air that evening. Just ask Gibbons parent Janine McGee, whose son, Cole ’22, sang the National Anthem at the game as a Gibbons Chorus member.

Students cheering on the football team at Family Football Night 2019.

“I am so blown away by the sheer number of people and the level of engagement here tonight,” she said of her first Family Football Night experience. “It’s awesome. It’s the high school experience you want for your children.” 

“People anticipate this night, added veteran Gibbons parent Kristine Bachand. She is the parent of  Callum ’22 and Madeleine ’19. “It is a great introduction for middle schoolers to see what the Gibbons experience is all about.”

Asked to describe that experience Bachand quickly added – friendship and fellowship.

The significance of those two words was evident throughout the evening as one after another of the middle schools shared their school pride as well as their Gibbons pride.

Summing up the impact of the evening Director of Family Engagement Gina Jiampetti said: “Families who attend Family Football Night experience the joy, passion, and love that Cardinal Gibbons students, educators, and parents feel for their community, and get a glimpse of life at Gibbons.”

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