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Bulldogs, Blue Devils, Spartans pick up gridiron victories

By Warren Rappleyea

Rumson-Fair Haven

Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School rebounded from its loss to powerful St. John Vianney High School and upped its record to 4-2 with a solid 24-7 triumph over Red Bank Regional High School Oct. 21.

The visiting Bulldogs struck twice to build a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never really looked back. On his team’s first possession, quarterback Jack Volker connected with Trevor Caruso for a 69-yard scoring pass that immediately gave Rumson-Fair Haven momentum. Volker, filling in for the injured Michael O’Connor, threw just seven times but completed four of them for 139 yards.

The Bulldogs then recovered a Buccaneers’ fumble to set up a first-and-goal situation from the Red Bank 3-yard line. Volker quickly cashed in, finding Tyler Pierson with a 6-yard touchdown pass to double the Bulldogs’ lead.

Rumson-Fair Haven was unable to add to the lead in the second quarter, but the Bulldogs defense was on top of its game, keeping Red Bank’s offense in check into the intermission. Rumson-Fair Haven put the game away in the third, as Matt Vecchiarelli, who ran for 70 yards on the night, scored from 6 yards out. Thomas Chapin added a 30-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

The Buccaneers finally got on the board when Chris Brannagan returned Chapin’s kickoff 95 yards to prevent a shutout.

Bulldogs coach Jerry Schulte was pleased with his team’s play following the 28-3 loss Oct. 14 to undefeated St. John Vianney.

“Our guys take a lot of pride in shutting teams down,” said Schulte, whose team has allowed just 48 points in six games. “Scoring early was big for us, and our defense just took it from there until we were able to add some more points.”

With the win, Rumson-Fair Haven sits in eighth place in the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group III playoff race with 64 power points. However, five of the seven teams ahead of the Bulldogs have played seven games, including first-place Somerville High School (7-0). The best seven of a team’s first eight games count in the standings.

Next up for Schulte’s team is a trip to Monmouth Regional High School (2-5) Oct. 29. The Falcons are coming off a bye week following a 33-0 loss to Red Bank Regional Oct. 15. The Buccaneers (3-3) will be at Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School (4-3) Oct. 28.

Red Bank Catholic

RBC is coming off a 41-21 loss at St. John Vianney Oct. 21.

The Caseys quickly fell behind, 14-0, but were able to battle back to make it 14-7 on Nick Brusca’s 10-yard run. Before the first quarter was out, however, the Lancers scored again and went on to make it 28-7 in the second quarter.

The Caseys added a pair of touchdowns in the second half, as Logan Whelen scored on an 11-yard run and Anthony Romano connected with Jared Key for 25 yards and a touchdown. Whelen, who replaced an injured Brusca at quarterback, led the Caseys’ ground game with 99 yards on 19 carries, while Zach Bair ran for 92 yards on 16 attempts.

RBC currently sits in fourth place in the Non-Public, Group III playoff race with 83 power points. Saint Joseph Regional High School of Montvale is first with 124 points, followed by St. John Vianney with 114 points.

“We have to get right back to work,” RBC coach Frank Edgerly said. “Red Bank is a big rivalry game, and I know they’ll be ready for us. We can’t worry about what happened; we just have to move forward.”

Shore Regional

In West Long Branch, Shore Regional High School topped Point Pleasant Beach High School, 21-7, for its second straight win Oct. 21.

The Garnet Gulls scored on their first possession to take an early 7-0 lead, but that would be the only trip to the end zone for the visitors, as coach Mark Costantino’s defense tightened. Gil Goldsmith and Matt Pennell both intercepted passes and Shore Regional, which made no turnovers, recovered a Point Pleasant Beach fumble.

In the second quarter, the Blue Devils evened things up when Goldsmith hauled in a 31-yard touchdown pass from Pennell. After kicking off, Shore Regional forced the Garnet Gulls to punt and it was Goldsmith again — bringing it back 36 yards to the Point Pleasant Beach 22-yard line.

Three plays later, Josh Campi’s short run put the home team ahead to stay. Campi would score again on a 41-yard run in the fourth quarter to put things out of reach. The senior ended with 74 yards on 14 carries. Mark Russo added 61 yards on eight attempts for the Blue Devils, who improved to 5-2.

Shore Regional, which has won two straight Central Jersey, Group I crowns, leads the race for the playoffs with 85 power points — 10 more than Keyport High School (6-1) and Point Pleasant Beach (4-3). The Blue Devils have a week off before hosting Keyport Nov. 4.

Ocean Township

Ocean Township High School earned its third win by downing Long Branch High School, 40-25, as both Anthony Tedesco and Kenny Pickett scored three times apiece. The visiting Spartans got out to a 20-0 lead, only to have their hosts come back to cut it to 20-18 early in the third quarter.

Tedesco scored on runs of 6 and 2 yards, and Pickett took it into the end zone on an 8-yard run — all in the first half. After the Green Wave scored three straight times, both Tedesco and Pickett scored in the third quarter, and Pickett closed out the scoring in the fourth.

The Spartans offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, allowing Ocean Township to ground out 316 rushing yards. Tedesco led the way with 129 yards on 16 carries, while Pickett had 73 yards on 14 tries. Pickett also completed 10 of 16 passing attempts for 97 yards. Tyler Rossback led the Spartans’ receiving corps with four catches.

Ocean Township will look to even its record Oct. 28 when the Spartans visit Point Pleasant Borough High School (7-0). The Panthers downed Jackson Liberty High School, 27-0, Oct. 21.

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