Every week this season, Shore Conference football fans will have their chance to vote for the Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey/Shore Sports Network Football Player of the Week on our website.

The Week 8 Player of the Week winner is Red Bank Catholic junior running back Kevin Degnan, who delivered a clutch performance to lead the Caseys to a heart-pounding 38-28 win over Middletown North to improve to 8-0.

Filling in for injured starter Billy Guidetti, Degnan ran for 201 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries, and it was his 74-yard touchdown run with 5:06 left in the game that gave RBC a 31-28 lead after Middletown North had rallied with three straight touchdowns.

A 4-yard touchdown run by Anthony Soto had given Middletown North a 28-24 lead with 5:22 left, but Degnan's touchdown run delivered an instant response to give RBC the lead right back. Degnan added a 20-yard touchdown run with 1:49 to play and also had a 2-yard touchdown run in the first half to help the Caseys avoid the upset by the Lions (1-6).

Middletown North struck first when Soto took a screen pass and scored early in the first quarter before RBC answered on a 30-yard field goal by Ryan O'Hara. The Caseys then scored three straight touchdowns to take a 24-7 halftime lead. Senior quarterback Steve Lubischer threw touchdown passes of 9 and 15 yards to junior tight end Charlie Gordinier and Degnan scored from two yards out.

Middletown North then rallied with three consecutive scores of its own, starting with a blocked punt and return for a touchdown by Steven Holler. Connor Robbins scored on an 8-yard touchdown run to make it 24-21 before Soto's touchdown run momentarily gave the Lions the lead. Degnan’s breakout performance, however, ensured Red Bank Catholic would enter the playoffs undefeated.

Red Bank Catholic is the No. 1 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 and was able to earn the coveted No. 1 seed in the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 3 playoffs. The Caseys have a bye into the semifinals and will play the winner of the quarterfinal game between fourth-seeded St. John Vianney (4-4) and fifth-seeded Pope John (1-8).

Degnan secured the Player of the Week victory with 22.6 percent of the votes to win over Wall’s Casey Larkin and Manasquan’s James Pendergist.

 

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