By Brian Deakyne
RUMSON — If there were a word to describe Rumson-Fair Haven’s September record, it would be variety.
In jumping out to a 4-0 record, the Bulldogs have won in all different types of assortments. They’ve had overtime wins, blowouts, and last Friday against Red Bank, they added an ugly, yet efficient win to their transcript.
Rumson was able to fight off a feisty Red Bank (0-3) team, but a 41-yard field goal from junior kicker Jake D’Amelio in the second quarter and a one-yard touchdown run from senior quarterback Danny Roberto helped the Bulldogs pull out the 9-3 win.
“We knew we were going to get [Red Bank's] best effort, we made a lot of mistakes, offensively,” Rumson-Fair Haven head coach Shane Fallon said. “In the first half, we didn’t get in a rhythm offensively, they did a good job mixing up some of their defenses.”
Roberto wasn’t as sharp as he normally has been, but it hardly mattered. After allowing a long drive in the first quarter that ended with a fumble recovery on their own 11-yard line, the Bulldogs defense hunkered down and didn’t allow the Bucs to get into any type of offensive pattern.
After Rumson’s, 13-10, come-from-behind overtime win against Shore Regional on opening night, it pulled off back-to-back upset wins over St. John Vianney and Holmdel, proving, when needed, it can contend as one of the most explosive teams in the Shore Conference.
The win, since it was non-divisional, still keeps the Bulldogs in a first-place tie in the A-Central with Red Bank Catholic, which beat Raritan 49-14 last week.
Roberto completed 8 of19 passes for 78 yards and tossed an interception. Senior running back Travis Clark carried the ball 18 times for 65 yards and sophomore running back Charlie Volker had 14 rushes for 33 yards.
The Bulldogs will have a bye this week before hosting Raritan at home and try to remain unbeaten overall and within the division.
“We’ve got to get healthy, we’ve got a lot of kids banged up,” Fallon said. “We’re real happy to be 4-0, we certainly are. It’s a good confidence booster; we’re growing as a team. We’re good, but we’re not great yet.
“We’re making some mistakes, we’ve got a lot of kids in the lineup for the first time, but we’ll get there.”
Rumson will host Raritan (0-4) on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. The Rockets have allowed at least 41 points in every game they have played this season.
Red Bank Looking For First Win Saturday
The wins haven’t been there in 2012, but the progress has.
Comparing Red Bank’s (0-3) 47-0 loss to Red Bank Catholic in week one and its 9-3 loss to Rumson-Fair Haven (4-0) in week four, the Bucs have made giant leaps towards getting a win.
Coming off a bye week and two weeks removed from a 34-28 double-overtime loss to Wall, Red Bank nearly upset the unbeaten Bulldogs last Friday night at Count Basie Field, but costly mistakes resulted in a loss in front of an enormous crowd.
In the loss to Rumson, the Bucs offense was strong in the first quarter, but it fell off. Their defense, however, did not.
Red Bank’s defensive front was in the backfield all night, stopping Rumson quarterback Danny Roberto, who has had a strong September, from getting any type of rhythm together.
The Bucs threatened to take an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter, but, on first and goal from the Rumson six-yard line, the snap flew over the head of senior quarterback Ross Gisondi.
That would be as close as Red Bank would get all game.
“We’re about opportunities and we had opportunities early in the game to put some points on the board and we take a step backwards,” Red Bank head coach Nick Giglio said. “That’s kind of how our season is going at times, we take two steps forward and three back.”
After a blowout loss on opening day, Red Bank has lost a pair of games by less than a touchdown, leading it to believe that it is right there and is just a play or two away from being 2-1, instead of 0-3.
“Looking back at the game, its 9-3, 7 points would’ve been nice,” Giglio said.
The Bucs only score came late in the fourth quarter against Rumson, when senior kicker Erwin Pupovic nailed a 25-yard field goal, but the Bulldogs recovered the ensuing onsides kickoff. Gisondi recovered a fumble and returned it 35 yards deep into Rumson territory to set up the field goal.
“We’re a very different team in terms of physical-ness, we’re getting our bodies healthy again. The guys that were young in the early season are starting to come around,” Giglio said. “There’s a lot of good stuff that’s going to happen from here on out.”
Red Bank used a number of different formations, including using two quarterbacks. Gisondi and senior quarterback Alex Fox rotated in and out of the offense, although neither was able to establish any type of scoring drives.
On Saturday, Red Bank will be home against Ocean Township (2-2) in an attempt to get its first win. A victory would give the Bucs their first win within the division as well and with time ticking on the season, every win is going to be important.
That game is at 2:30 pm.