Football – No. 2 Rumson Rolls Through No. 8 Long Branch
RUMSON - After his first two carries of Friday night's game against Long Branch, Rumson-Fair Have senior running back John Volker was having a perfect game against the No. 8 ranked team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10.
Volker's two 50-plus-yard touchdowns were enough to put the game away for No. 2 Rumson because the Bulldogs defense was nearly perfect for the entire 48 minutes.
Volker ran for 171 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries and Rumson's defense shut down a Long Branch offense coming off a big Week One win in a 28-0 Bulldogs win.
"Defense is the heart and soul of RFH (Football)," said senior Ryan Ruane, who hauled in one of three Rumson interceptions. "I think the offense definitely has a bigger part this year. They have some more returning guys and I think that makes it more of an equal share than last year.
"John set the tone early, the offensive line set the tone early. Long Branch is a team if you get down early, they can get down on themselves and that's when you start pressing down on the gas."
Right after Long Branch helped extend Rumson's first drive by jumping offside on 3rd-and-4, the Bulldogs called Volker's number and the Princeton commit found daylight up the right side, tightrope-walked the sideline and sprinted for a 56-yard touchdown to give his team a 7-0 lead before a minute ran off the clock.
"Before the game, I said to the o-line 'You work for me, I work for you' and I guess it just really fired them up because they opened up some huge holes for me," Volker said. "I can't take all the credit for myself, because there was just a massive hole for me the run through."
Long Branch managed to pick up a pair of first downs on its first drive but Rumson pushed the Green Wave to a 4th-and-6 and senior Thomas Quadrela picked off a tipped pass for the first of three Bulldogs interceptions and four Long Branch turnovers.
One play later, Volker took his second hand-off and broke through the line for a 58-yard touchdown and a 14-0 Rumson lead.
Following another defensive stop, the Bulldogs strung together their longest drive by number of plays of the game to go up by three touchdowns. They went 50 yards on 14 plays and on 4th-and-4, senior quarterback Josh Harmon found junior running back Geoff Schroeder for a seven-yard touchdown pass with 9:55 left in the second quarter.
Rumson's offense went quiet the rest of the way with the exception of one play in the third quarter. After a penalty on a punt set the Bulldogs up at the Long Branch 34 yard-line, Rumson again called Volker's No. 2 and the senior found daylight on the right side, worked the sideline and powered through a pair of defenders to break the goal line.
Long Branch's best opportunity to score came late in the second quarter when senior Bobby Lawrence opened a drive that starter from the Green Wave 20 with a 15-yard run and junior quarterback Christian Rodriguez hit junior Jyshon Presley for a 42-yard gain down to the Rumson 23 yard-line.
On the ensuing second down, however, junior Charles Moriarty came down with an interception off a tipped pass. Senior Andrew Conklin got the ball back from Long Branch on the next play with an interception that put the ball right back on the Bulldogs 24. Long Branch go down to the 11 but Rumson's defense buckled down and came up with three straight sacks to close out the half.
Rumson's defensive focus centered around quieting Green Wave receiver BaSean Fraser, who posted 91 receiving yards and the go-ahead touchdown in last week's win at Middletown South. On Friday, the Bulldogs held Fraser to one catch for no yards.
"We knew their best player was Fraser and we knew if we shut him down the game was over," Ruane said. "Then, we just had to let the offense do their thing."
Rumson was unable to practice on Monday or Tuesday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Rumson-Fair Haven athletic program, but the Bulldogs kept sharp and did not miss a beat when they returned to the field.
'We just did virtual meetings, everybody got their lifts in, we watched film together," Ruane said. "The defensive backs watched film at my house and I think we did a pretty good job of breaking it down.
"Football in the Ruane house is something big, so we definitely cherish getting a chance to play."
Next up, the Bulldogs will renew their rivalry with Red Bank Catholic, which is coming off a 32-25 loss Friday to a Middletown South team that Long Branch defeated on opening night. Rumson defeated the Caseys last season for the first time since 2002.
"We try to treat every game the same and we don't take any opponent lightly but RBC does hold significance to us," Volker said. "Last year, we beat them and it was the first time we did that since the year I was born, so that was a special moment for me."
Rumson-Fair Haven 28, Long Branch 0
|Long Branch (1-1)||0||0||0||0||0|
RFH - John Volker 56-yard run (Justin Worobel kick)
RFH - John Volker 58-yard run (Justin Worobel kick)
RFH - Geoff Schroeder 7-yard pass from Justin Harmon (Justin Worobel kick)
RFH - John Volker 34-yard run (Justin Worobel kick)
Rushing - LB: Sekou Kamau 7-29, Bobby Lawrence 7-20, Christian Rodriguez 14-(-4); R: John Volker 11-171, Geoff Schroeder 7-9, Dan Garvey 3-4, Josh Harmon 8-(-5)
Passing - LB: Christian Rodriguez 8-17-85-3, Michael Bacon 2-3-12-0; R: Josh Harmon 9-17-52-1
Receiving - LB: Jyshon Presley 2-42, Sekou Kamau 3-27, Jayden Farmer 2-17, Michael Hall 1-8, Marwan Dismuke 1-3, BaSean Fraser 1-0; R: Patrick Jamin 2-18, Luke Devlin 1-13, Geoff Schroeder 5-13, David Livingston 1-8
Interceptions-Return Yards - LB: Andrew Conklin 1-16; R: Thomas Quadarella 1-5, Ryan Ruane 1-0, Charles Moriarty 1-5