Battle for Shore Number 1 as Red Bank Catholic takes on Rumson-Fair Haven
A battle for number 1 at the Shore has taken place as current top Rumson-Fair Haven take on Red Bank Catholic.
Thomas P. Costello and Ryan Ross, Asbury Park Press
RUMSON — It’s everything that makes high school football an integral part of local communities, and precisely what everyone missed during the pandemic-hit 2020 season.
The gripping drama unfolded before an overflowing crowd at Borden Stadium on Friday night, with fans ringing the pitch along the fence, student sections engaged on both sides and cars driving through nearby streets looking for a parking space.
On the court, there was a hard-hitting showdown between Jersey Shore’s two top teams, who have an intense and longstanding rivalry, in what turned out to be a well-played game that lasted long on big plays. . and sportsmanship.
In the end, it was No. 2 Red Bank Catholic who beat No. 1 Rumson-Fair Haven, 21-14, in an undefeated battle.
Now, the Caseys will regain the top spot in the Asbury Park Press Top 10 they held at the start of the season, while preparing for a shot at a legendary Shore Conference championship within the next two weeks if they can beat Manalapan and Donovan Catholic in succession. .
If that performance was any indication, the Caseys could make some noise when NJSIAA non-public Pool B play begins next month.
Related: Biggest moments from the No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups at Jersey Shore
“All week we heard that we haven’t faced anyone, that we weren’t physical enough to play with them, that we haven’t played enough physical games,” the tight end/ RBC defensive end Alex Bauman. “But we’ve taken care of our business every week and we’ve done that this week as well. Just another step up the ladder.”
Important games are looming
It’s a big moment in time for Shore Conference football, with the league getting it right by unveiling the schedule for the past two weeks on Tuesday.
Not only do the Caseys now have a clear path to the unofficial Shore Conference title, starting with a matchup against a draw-worthy Manalapan team at RBC, but intriguing games will be played in Monmouth Counties and Ocean over the next two weekends.
Had Rumson won, he would have set up two more weeks of matchups between undefeated teams, with Middletown South and Long Branch deserving important matches and a chance to compete for a title as well.
Last year’s ‘championship’ game between Wall and Donovan Catholic was hard to beat in terms of drama, with the Crimson Knights stopping the Griffins on a fourth and a 2-yard line goal with just over a minute left to hold on for an 18-15 victory.
What was missing was the incredible atmosphere behind Rumson-Fair Haven High School on Friday, with communities coming together on an absolutely picture-perfect fall evening.
“I think I can speak for both teams when it comes to the environment,” RBC head coach Mike Lange said. “That’s why I wanted to coach, to be in games like this. I was the defensive coordinator in 2018 when we played them here and it was the same kind of crazy environment.
“Honestly, I’m speechless from the crowd that came out here tonight,” Bauman said. “The atmosphere was completely crazy. Over 5,000 people here, the stadium is packed, no seats are free, standing room only, it’s just madness. The atmosphere was awesome. »
Nights like these matter, as life slowly returns to normal during the pandemic. Not only did the Caseys prove themselves to be championship contenders, but they did it in the type of environment that everyone had been striving for over the past two years.
Stephen Edelson is a USA TODAY NETWORK sports columnist in New Jersey who has covered athletics in the state and on the Jersey Shore for nearly 35 years. Contact him at: @SteveEdelsonAPP; [email protected]