Frankie Williams Dazzles in Varsity Debut, Leads Red Bank Catholic Over St. John Vianney
OCEAN CITY -- If Frankie Williams had any nervous feelings before taking the field on Saturday night, it took only one play for him to settle in.
Making his debut as Red Bank Catholic's starting quarterback, Williams' first pass went for a 74-yard touchdown to senior Robert Stolfa and ignited a first-half barrage as the Caseys, ranked No. 1 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, rolled to a 33-7 victory over St. John Vianney at the Battle at the Beach showcase.
Williams accounted for four of RBC's five touchdowns and finished 8 of 10 passing for 198 yards and three touchdowns along with 34 yards rushing and a touchdown. In addition to the game-opening touchdown pass to Stolfa, Williams tossed a 6-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Najiah Rahman, connected with junior wide receiver Emanuel Ross for a 55-yard touchdown on a screen pass, and scrambled for a 19-yard touchdown.
After graduating First Team All-Shore quarterback Alex Brown, who helped lead the Caseys to the NJSIAA Non-Public B state title last season, the quarterback position was one of the few questions marks for RBC heading into the season. Williams provided plenty of answers on Saturday night at Carey Stadium.
"That definitely build up my confidence and from there (the game) just went slower," Williams said. "First varsity start, I just wanted to show out."
"I was looking for a confidence-builder and obviously a 75-yard touchdown helps," said RBC head coach Mike Lange. "Yeah, that springboarded him to be a little more confident, and I also look at the little things. He scrambled when he had to, dumped it in the flat; those are some veteran moves."
Stolfa finished with two catches for 91 yards, Ross had two catches for 69 yards, senior running back Torin Harmon ran for 45 yards on seven carries, and senior running back Sabino Portella had a 6-yard touchdown run.
With RBC up 33-0 at halftime, there was a running clock throughout the second half. St. John Vianney broke the shutout with 9:36 left in the fourth quarter when Michael Foley threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Joey Marcelo. Senior running back Christian Buchanan ran for a game-high 63 yards and senior wide receiver Kyle Verriest ran for 53 yards.
Defensively, Luke Wassef, Christian Ungemah, Evan Bielenda, and Jamie Gutridge recorded sacks and Michael Palmieri intercepted a pass that he returned 37 yards. The RBC defense limited St. John Vianney to 75 yards of offense and four first downs in the first half before putting in several backups in the second half.
It was a great start for Williams and the Caseys, but given that the calendar hasn't even turned to September, there's still a long way to go. The goal of winning a state championship, however, remains the same.
"Just because we have a younger guy (at quarterback) it doesn't me we're changing anything," Lange said. "These are the things we did last year. With the players we have around him, we just have to keep getting reps and improve week to week."