By Ryan Fennell
Red Bank – At 5-0 and atop the A Central, the Red Bank Catholic Caseys seem like they’re rolling through the opposition, but according to head coach Jim Portela and other members of the team, the Caseys have yet to play their best football.
The Caseys easily defeated Freehold Boro, 28-0, last Friday night for their third shutout of the season. The Caseys have only allowed four touchdowns while outscoring their opponents by a 151-point margin.
“I don’t think we’ve played our best football yet,” Portela said. “I know I keep saying that so I’ve got to be careful, but I just don’t believe it. I don’t believe we have.
“We haven’t played four quarters the way we’re capable of yet,” he added. “I don’t know if that’s good news or not, but we better start playing good because we’ve got a bunch of good teams coming up.”
The Caseys head to Holmdel (3-2, 1-1) for a divisional game this Friday night to take on the Hornets who lost a heartbreaker, 14-13, to Shore Regional in overtime last week.
RBC has a bye the following week, but then returns to the field against another tough opponent in Middletown South (3-1).
After that, the Caseys need to be careful not to let up when they host Monmouth Regional (1-3, 1-1) leading up to the matchup that could decide the A Central champion on November 21 against Rumson-Fair Haven, which is also presently undefeated at 4-0.
“It becomes crunch time after that (Holmdel and Middletown South),” Portela said. “Every time you play it’s going to be for something important. We need to get up to that speed.”
“We’re definitely happy with where we’re at (5-0),” added Caseys’ running back Larry Redaelli, who had 19 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns against Freehold. “We’re not at our level yet. We can do so much more.”
The Caseys opened up the scoring against Freehold on their second possession, and the final play of the first quarter, when Redaelli broke open and scurried down the left sideline from 36 yards out.
The Caseys scored again on their first possession of the second quarter after a huge 32-yard gain by junior fullback Frank Olmo who, from his own 46, trucked down to the Freehold 14. Olmo had six carries for 58 yards in the game.
“Frankie Olmo is a good running back,” Portela said. “The great thing about our running backs is they’re very, very unselfish.”
Later in the drive, Redaelli ran up the middle from 4 yards out for his second touchdown and gave the Caseys a 14-0 lead.
“We’re both very compatible,” Redaelli said. “He (Olmo) won’t go down. He runs hard and blocks hard.”
Just over a minute later, after forcing a 3-and-out, senior James Taylor returned a Freehold punt 49-yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 advantage for RBC.
The Caseys cooled off in the second half, managing to continue to run their offense but were unable to get the ball in the endzone.
“We moved the ball decently in the second,” said Portela. “We just didn’t punch it in.
“I think Freehold had a good game plan in terms of trying to keep the ball a little bit, but our style of play sometimes eats up a lot of the clock too,” continued Portela. “We were just trying to manage the game the way it came to us.”
RBC did add another touchdown midway through the fourth quarter on a nine-play drive that began on its own 41-yard line when senior running back Jesse Flaherty took it into the endzone from eight yards out to put the Caseys up 28-0, which would stand as the final score.