Red Bank Catholic’s Alex Bauman is the 2021 Shore Sports Network Football Most Valuable Player
A football player can only play on both sides of the ball for so long before a choice has to be made. Alex Bauman has been asked many times where he prefers to play, and his answer is always the same.
“Really, I just try to do whatever I can to help our team win and whatever is needed to put us over the top and help us win a state championship,” Bauman said.
Fortunately for Red Bank Catholic, Bauman was awesome wherever he lined up.
One of the best all-around football players in New Jersey, Bauman excelled as both a tight end and a defensive end for the Caseys and was indispensable during their run to a state championship. For his two-way dominance that helped lead RBC to a banner season, Bauman is the 2021 Shore Sports Network Most Valuable Player.
Now a two-time First Team All-Shore selection, Bauman was the Shore’s best tight end with 26 catches for 432 yards and six touchdowns for an RBC offense that was No. 2 in the Shore averaging 32.7 points per game. He also could have been a First Team All-Shore defensive end after making 79 tackles with 8 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, 18 hurries, two fumble recoveries, and three pass deflections for a defense that was No. 3 in the Shore in scoring defense (11.4 ppg).
With Bauman helping to lead the charge, RBC went 11-1, won the Constitution Division title, claimed the NJSIAA Non-Public B state, and finished No. 1 in the SSN Top 10.
His impact on offense is even more impressive considering RBC had a multitude of different weapons, including Offensive Player of the Year Alex Brown at quarterback, three standout running backs in Sabino Portella, Rajahn Cooper, and Torin Harmon, and All-Shore wide receiver Najih Rahman. Bauman was a reliable target on third down and in the red zone, especially. He was also a ferocious blocker for an offense that rushed for 210 yards per game.
His defensive prowess helped make RBC’s defense one of the Shore’s best and he was adept at making game-changing plays with a total of 24 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He had double-digit tackles in four games – no small feat for a defensive end – and they unsurprisingly came in four of the biggest games of the season against Rumson-Fair Haven, Donovan Catholic, St. Joseph (Hammonton), and DePaul. In a 21-14 win over Rumson, Bauman had 13 tackles, 1 sack, and three tackles for loss. He totaled 10 tackles with two tackles for loss vs. Donovan Catholic. Against St. Joe’s in the Non-Public B state semifinals, he recorded 11 tackles with four tackles for loss. And finally, in a 13-8 win over DePaul in the Non-Public B state championship game, Bauman had 13 tackles with one tackle for loss.
“That was our team goal starting from the end of last season,” Bauman said of the state title. “I was driving into our teammates' heads that our goal is to get to that state championship game and ultimately win it.”
At 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, Bauman can win most matchups with his physical dominance, but that was something he really wanted to avoid relying on entering his senior year.
“The offseason was about getting bigger, faster, and stronger in the weight room but I also really wanted to work on my craft, working on technique instead of just trying to muscle through people.”
This year’s state championship was RBC’s fourth in program history and its third since 2014. Prior to this season, RBC last claimed a state title in 2018 when the Caseys defeated Mater Dei, 14-10, to win the Non-Public Group 3 title and complete an undefeated season. Bauman was a freshman at the time while his older brother, Kevin, was a star senior tight end and defensive end. Alex craved that same accomplishment during his own senior year.
“Something that motivated me was how my high school career could come full circle,” Bauman said. “Freshman year being at MetLife, not playing but being on the team and watching them do what they did, I wanted to be a senior and help my team win a state championship.”
Bauman has not made a college decision yet but has plenty of options. He currently has nine FBS offers according to Rivals.com, including Notre Dame, as well as interest from several Ivy League programs. He said his decision will come down to where he feels he fits the best. Wherever he ends up, he will do so knowing his final task as a high school football player was to help lead his team to a state championship.
“It’s honestly still indescribable,” Bauman said. “Walking out onto an NFL field and playing under those big lights, winning a state championship. It’s one of the greatest feelings ever.”
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