Column Edelson from Red Bank Catholic vs Rumson-Fair Haven football match

RUMSON – It’s everything that makes high school football such an integral part of local communities, and precisely what everyone missed during the pandemic-stricken 2020 season.

The gripping drama unfolded in front of a bustling 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 in search of a parking space.

On the pitch, there was a fierce showdown between the Jersey Shore’s top two teams, who happen to have an intense and long-standing rivalry, in what turned out to be a well-played game that was long on big games and sportsmanship.

In the end, it was No. 2 Red Bank Catholic overthrowing No. 1 Rumson-Fair Haven, 21-14, in an unbeaten battle.

Now the Casey’s will regain the first place in the Asbury Park Press Top 10 they held at the start of the season, as they prepare for a legendary Shore Conference Championship over the next two weeks if they can. beat Manalapan and Donovan Catholic successively. .

RBC's Rajahn Cooper scores a touchdown during the first half of the Red Bank Catholic soccer match against Rumson-Fair Haven at Rumon-Fair Haven High School in Rumson, NJ on Friday, October 15, 2021.

If that performance was any indication, the Caseys could make some noise when the NJSIAA’s non-public Group B play begins next month.

Related: Best moments from No.1 vs No.2 showdown at Jersey Shore

“All week we heard that we haven’t played against anyone, that we weren’t physical enough to play with them, that we didn’t play enough physical matches,” said the tight end. / RBC defensive end Alex Bauman. “But we took care of business every week and that’s what we did this week as well. Just another step up the ladder. “

Important games are looming

It’s a big time for Shore Conference football, as the league got it right when it released 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 clash against a Manalapan team that deserves a shot at RBC, but intriguing matches will be played in Monmouth and Ocean counties in the United States. over the next two weekends.

If Rumson had won, it would have set up two more weeks of face-offs between the undefeated teams, with Middletown South and Long Branch also deserving important games and a chance to compete for a title.

Last year’s “championship” game between Wall and Donovan Catholic was tough to beat in terms of drama, with the Crimson Knights stopping the Griffins on a fourth and a 2-yard goal with just over a minute to go. to hold on for an 18-15 win.

What was missing was the incredible atmosphere behind Rumson-Fair Haven High School on Friday, with the communities coming together on an absolutely perfect fall evening.

“I think I can speak for both teams when it comes to the environment,” said RBC head coach Mike Lange. “That’s why I wanted to coach, to be in games like this. I was the defensive coordinator in 2018 when we faced them here and it was the same kind of crazy environment.

“Honestly, I am speechless in front of the crowd that has come here tonight,” Bauman said. “The atmosphere was absolutely crazy. More than 5,000 people here, the stadium is full, no seats are open, only standing places, it’s just crazy. The atmosphere was great. “

Nights like these are important, as life slowly returns to normal during the pandemic. Not only have the Caseys proven to be championship contenders, but they’ve done so in the kind of environment everyone has been craving for the past two years.

Stephen Edelson is a New Jersey USA TODAY NETWORK sports columnist who has covered athletics in the state and on the Jersey Shore for almost 35 years. Contact him at: @SteveEdelsonAPP; sedelson@gannettnj.com.


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