By Brian Deakyne
RED BANK — Red Bank Catholic knew it was going to be a different game.
Aside from their first two victories of the season, over Red Bank Regional and Manasquan, the Caseys entered last Friday’s game against St. John Vianney knowing they would be facing a daunting offense and a resilient defense. More than anything, they knew the Lancers were looking to pull off an upset.
Red Bank Catholic was up for the challenge.
The Caseys scored 24 points in the second quarter alone, and big plays helped them stay undefeated, beating St. John Vianney, 45-14 at Count Basie Field. The win moved RBC to 3-0 on the season, and dropped the Lancers to 1-2. The win also moved the Caseys to 2-0 in A-Central play.
“We played hard and I’m proud of that. They played hard, too, and I think we did a good job adjusting on the fly,” Red Bank Catholic head coach Jim Portela said. “Whenever you play a team that does something different, scheme-wise, it takes a little while to pick up to their speed.”
Among those big plays in the second quarter were a 79-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by senior James Taylor to give Red Bank Catholic a 14-7 lead, and an 80-yard interception returned for a touchdown by senior cornerback Chris Whitlock.
“The biggest play was the kickoff return, that was huge. And of course the interception, too,” Portela said. “Just because both times when that happened, I thought they had momentum. It came at a good time.”
“We just had a couple big plays that really started the momentum for us,” Taylor said. “We got the ball rolling and it was huge for us. We needed that spark on special teams and the defense holding them. Once we got that spark, I think we really took off.”
Early, the Caseys struggled to stop the Lancers passing attack. St. John Vianney put up the first points on the Caseys’ defense on the opening play of the second quarter — snapping RBC’s scoreless record at 9 quarters — on a 7-yard touchdown strike from junior quarterback Billy DeMato to senior wide out Steve Callari.
In all, DeMato threw for 236 yards on the Caseys’ defense, but the defense was able to shutout the Lancers in the second half.
“We had to change our whole scheme on defense for them,” Whitlock said. “It was the first time we’ve seen it and we practiced all week against it. We did well.”
Red Bank Catholic changed its base defense to a nickel package; using five defensive backs to counter the Lancers often-used five wide out set.
The Caseys also added junior running back Larry Redaelli back in the lineup on Friday. After missing a game with an ankle injury, Redaelli carried the load for RBC, running the ball 24 times for 135 yards and a touchdown.
Senior running back Jesse Flaherty and sophomore running back Mike Cordova each added rushing scores for the Caseys as well.
Junior quarterback Pat Toomey was 7-of-13 passing for 86 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
“They were working us hard on defense, so thank goodness that Larry was back to take the load off [Flaherty and Cordova],” Portela said
Red Bank Catholic will be facing its third consecutive A-Central opponent tonight, when the Caseys hit the road to take on Raritan (0-3), in an attempt to remain unbeaten overall and keep a first-place tie in the division with Rumson-Fair Haven.