38 and Done: Red Bank Catholic ends St. John Vianney’s 38-game Shore Conference winning streak
HOLMDEL – After three years of frustration at the hands of its biggest rival, Red Bank Catholic finally got its revenge.
Senior quarterback Steve Lubischer accounted for three touchdowns and the Caseys, ranked No. 1 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, opened the 2018 season with an emphatic 41-14 Shore Conference nondivisional victory over No. 2 St. John Vianney and put an end to the Lancers’ 38-game Shore Conference winning streak.
The Boston-college bound Lubischer combined for 183 yards of offense, had touchdown runs of one and three yards and also tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver M.J. Wright. Senior fullback Steve Cmielewski and junior running backs Billy Guidetti and Kevin Degnan also got into the end zone as the Caseys handed SJV its first loss against a Shore Conference team since the final game of the 2013 season.
“We’ve been working for this all summer, I can’t even tell you how good this feels,” Lubischer said.
Red Bank Catholic dominated John Vianney for many years, but the Lancers turned the tables starting with a 49-6 victory in the 2015 Non-Public Group 3 playoffs. St. John Vianney won the 2016 matchup, 41-21, and last season scored a 35-17 victory in the marquee matchup of the regular season to help them finish as the No. 1 team in the Shore. Throughout training camp at Count Basie Field, RBC head coach Frank Edgerly had the score of last year’s game displayed on the scoreboard.
“The thought in my head was when Steve Young won the Super Bowl and he talked about having the monkey ripped off his back,” Edgerly said. “We had three straight losses – lopsided losses – so to come here in this environment and (get a win) was critical.”
St. John Vianney entered the game having undergone a drastic makeover. The Lancers graduated most of their starters from last year’s team and have a new coaching staff under former longtime Matawan head coach Joe Martucci. One of their new players was able to make a big impact, however, as junior running back Kavon Chambers, a transfer from Central Regional, ran for 154 yards on 23 carries. The Lancers were without junior quarterback C.J. Duell, a transfer from St. Joseph Prep in Philadelphia, who was on the sideline but not in uniform. It is speculated Duell did not play because he is not eligible via the NJSIAA’s transfer rule, but Martucci offered only a “no comment” when asked why Duell did not play. Sophomore Josh East got the start at quarterback instead.
Red Bank Catholic’s high-powered offense could not be stopped in the first half as the Caseys scored on all three of their possessions to take a 20-0 lead into halftime. A defensive pass interference call followed by a 15-yard catch by Notre Dame-bound junior tight end Kevin Bauman and coupled with a personal foul penalty against SJV put the Caseys at the 13-yard line. Three plays later, Lubischer faked a handoff and took off on a bootleg, scoring from one yard out to put the Caseys ahead.
A short punt then gave the Caseys the ball at the SJV 44-yard line and RBC capitalized in six plays as Lubischer floated a 9-yard touchdown pass to Wright in the back-right corner of the end zone.
St. John Vianney was able to follow RBC’s second score with a long drive, using Chambers on direct snaps and moving into Caseys territory following his 26-yard run. The Lancers got all the way to RBC 15-yard line and were faced with a third-and-7, but RBC senior defensive end Gino Tartamella sacked East for a 12-yard loss and the Caseys held on fourth-and-long to force the turnover on downs.
Starting at their own 19-yard line, RBC moved 81 yards in eight plays to take a three-score lead. Bauman made a great diving catch for 12 yards to convert a third-and-5 and Lubischer scrambled for 23 yards to move the ball into SJV territory. On third-and-3 from the 34-yard line, senior wide receiver Jaden Key made a phenomenal catch by diving up and over an SJV defensive back to haul in a 31-yard pass. On the next play, Lubischer faked a hand-off and scored on a naked bootleg from three yards out.
A major difference for Red Bank Catholic was its approach. In last season’s much-hyped meeting, star running back Zack Bair was injured early in the game, and it threw off the Caseys. There was no such adversity to deal with on Friday night, but the Caseys made a point to remain calm no matter what happened.
“I think (the biggest difference) was just composure, honestly,” Lubischer said. “Last year we didn’t keep our composure when Zack Bair got hurt and this year we knew we had to keep it.”
“I think that’s certainly big and starting fast is a big deal, too,” Edgerly said. “I think last year when Zack got hurt, he was such a special player and such a main cog in what we were doing, and with all the build up to that game and then to lose him in the first quarter was tough. But I think today against this opponent and in this environment our composure in every facet of the game was going to be key.”
Junior Sean Rossback returned the second-half kickoff 65 yards to the SJV 25-yard line to put RBC right back in scoring territory. The SJV defense buckled down, however, thanks to a tackle for a loss by sophomore linebacker Julian Young and a sack by junior linebacker Anthony Brett.
A perfect punt by RBC senior Ryan O’Hara pinned the Lancers to their 4-yard line and enabled the Caseys to get the ball back with great field position again. This time they punched it in as Guidetti broke off a 23-yard run and Cmielewski plowed in from five yards out to make it 27-0.
RBC’s defense forced a three-and-out thanks to a sack by senior linebacker Adam Demurjian, his first of three on the night. The Caseys defenses posted five sacks in total with Tartamella and senior defensive tackle Tommy Smith also getting in on the action.
St. John Vianney got on the board with its defense as senior linebacker Mike Noble sacked Lubischer and knocked the ball free, and junior defensive lineman Matt Mandarino scooped it up and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown.
RBC responded immediately, however, as Degnan scored on a 12-yard run to polish off a seven-play, 80-yard drive.
An 18-yard catch by freshman Jayden Bellamy directly followed by a 50-yard run by Chambers set up SJV’s second touchdown. On fourth-and-6 from the RBC 8-yard line, East hit Noble in the flat and the senior was able to bounce off a tackle and get into the end zone. East then connected with Bellamy for the 2-point conversion to make it 34-14.
Red Bank Catholic pushed its advantage back to 27 points on the ensuring drive, however, as Guidetti scored on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line to cap an 8-play, 71-yard drive.
“Obviously any time you beat an opponent like this you’re happy with the result,” Edgerly said. “I thought we were sloppy in the second half but I was content with our gameplan, offensively, to come out throwing and run it in the second. I was hoping it was going to wear down those interior linemen and I think it did for the most part.”
As badly as RBC’s players wanted to beat St. John Vianney, they also understand it’s only Week 0. There’s a whole bunch of football still left to be played and these two teams could meet again in the playoffs where the stakes would be significantly higher.
“This is definitely going to feel good for a while,” Lubischer said. “But now it’s on to Ocean.”
No. 1 Red Bank Catholic 41, No. 2 St. John Vianney 14
|Red Bank Catholic||St. John Vianney|
Red Bank Catholic (1-0) 7 13 14 7 – 41
St. John Vianney (0-1) 0 0 6 8 – 14
RBC – Steve Lubischer 1-yard run (Ryan O’Hara kick)
RBC – Steve Lubischer 9-yard pass to M.J. Wright (run failed)
RBC – Steve Lubischer 3-yard run (Ryan O’Hara kick)
RBC – Steve Cmielewski 5-yard run (Ryan O’Hara kick)
SJV – Matt Mandarino 58-yard fumble return (kick failed)
RBC – Kevin Degnan 12-yard run (Ryan O’Hara kick)
SJV – Josh East 8-yard pass to Mike Noble (Josh East to Jayden Bellamy)
RBC – Billy Guidetti 1-yard run (Ryan O’Hara kick)
RUSHING – RBC: Billy Guidetti 16-74, Steve Lubischer 10-49, Kevin Degnan 2-28, Steve Cmielewski 3-20, M.J. Wright 1-3; SJV: Kavon Chambers 23-154, Naron Alston 2-2, Anthony Brett 1-(-1), Josh East 5-(-33).
PASSING – RBC: Steve Lubischer 9-12-0 134, Jaden Key 0-1-0 0; SJV: Josh East 6-10-0 78.
RECEIVING – RBC: Kevin Bauman 4-50, M.J. Wright 3-36, Jaden Key 1-31, Anthony Romano 1-17; SJV: Jayden Bellamy 2-59, Andrew McGimpsey 1-15, Mike Noble 1-8, Warren Griffith 2-(-4).