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A snapping rivalry: SSS sends second Gibbons to snap at collegiate level

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SMITHFIELD — Smithfield-Selma High’s Jacob Gibbons signed to play football for North Carolina Wesleyan on Monday morning to become the second long snapper in his family to play college football.

“Oh, there’s a rivalry,” Terry Gibbons said about his two sons. “I had them both at a camp one time, and there they set a tire up at 15 yards (away) and my younger son (Jacob) put the ball through the tire, and the older one (John) didn’t.”

John and Jacob’s path to become long snapping brothers started in Myrtle Beach nine or 10 years ago, Terry said. A former Boston College long snapper saw how big John was at 13 years old and told him he should try long snapping. John did and it lit a fire under Jacob to snap.

“I looked up to him, and I kind of always wanted to be better than him,” Jacob quipped. “Yes, I am better than him stat wise, actually. It’s been a healthy competition.”

Terry said he told both of his boys if they were going to pursue snapping then they needed to be the best that they could be at it. He said he took his boys to every possible camp run by Chris Rubio, a coach specializing in snapping, in states as far away as Ohio.

“It makes me proud that all the work and the effort I see is actually worth it,” Terry said. “Jacob isn’t as big as his brother, but put a little more into snapping and that helped put him where he wants to be.”

John committed to play college football at NCAA Division II Newberry College in 2015. Jacob said it’s been a real blessing and great opportunity for his family.

“His family, they’re really dedicated to SSS,” third-year head coach Mike Parrish said. “Just that they believed in us, and continued to believe in this school, it means a lot to me to get (Jacob) out, too.”

Parrish said he doesn’t know how he’s going to replace Jacob on special teams, but hopes whoever he finds to snap, he’ll get help from Jacob.

“(Jacob) just works on his craft, he is always snapping, he is always going to these camps and asking what he can do to get better,” Parrish said.

Jacob plans to study exercise science.