Rumson-Fair Haven rallies from 17-point deficit in fourth quarter to stun Raritan in OT and win South Jersey Group 2 title
HAZLET -- Somehow, some way, Rumson-Fair Haven generally finds a way to win in the biggest moments. The Bulldogs have had some incredibly memorable victories over the past decade, but Friday night's triumph might be the most dramatic of them all.
Senior wide receiver Scott Venancio caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Owen O'Toole in the second overtime period before Rumson's defense came up with one final stop as the Bulldogs completed a legendary rally from 17 points down in the fourth quarter to stun Raritan, 34-27, and win the 2022 NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 sectional title.
It is Rumson's seventh sectional title in program history - all of which have come since 2010 - and its first since 2018. The Bulldogs were playing in their ninth straight sectional final.
Trailing 27-10 after three quarters, Rumson began its comeback when senior defensive lineman Marshall Halfacre recovered a fumble at the Raritan 43-yard line with seven secons left in the third quarter, giving the Bulldogs good field position along with the wind going into the fourth quarter. RFH capitalized on the turnover when O'Toole threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Venancio with 10:12 left in regulation. Then, with 4:58 left, O'Toole connected with senior wide receiver Cole Cashion on a 60-yard touchdown that cut Raritan's lead to 27-24.
Rumson's defense then forced a punt and got the ball back in Raritan territory with 3:00 left and no timeouts. The Bulldogs moved into field goal range and Oliver Lorraine connected on a 26-yard field goal to tie the game at 27 with 1:23 left.
Raritan got the ball first in overtime and was stopped by the Rumson defense. Rumson then attempted a 36-yard field goal but Lorraine's kick into the wind missed just wide at the last second. Rumson then scored on Venancio's touchdown reception in the second overtime and held Raritan on defense to clinch the title.
Raritan jumped out to a 6-0 lead when Logan Goldsberry hit Matt Agar for a 23-yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked, however, and that would loom large later in the game. Lorraine kicked a 36-yard field goal to get Rumson on the board but Raritan went up 13-3 on a 68-yard touchdown run by senior running back Kieran Falzon.
Raritan led 13-3 at halftime and pushed that lead to 20-3 when Falzon punched in a 2-yard touchdown run with 2:59 left in the third quarter. Rumson answered on a 7-yard touchdown run by Alastair Orr but Falzon broke off a 70-yard touchdown run for a 27-10 Raritan lead.
Falzon had a fantastic game with a career-high 308 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 46 carries. He had 260 yards rushing on 30 carries entering the fourth quarter and Rumson was able to hold him to 48 yards on his last 16 carries and just eight yards on his last six carries.
O'Toole completed 22 of 29 passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns and made some high-pressure throws. Venancio caught seven passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns, junior wideout Nick Rigby caught 11 passes for 103 yards, and Cashion caught three passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.
Rumson will play Central Jersey Group 2 champion Willingboro in the Group 2 semifinals next weekend. The South Jersey group semifinals will be played on Saturday and Sunday at Cherokee High School.
Check back for a complete game story and more from this game.
Photo by Tommy Pantaleo @tommy_pants
Rumson-Fair Haven 34, Raritan 27
R - Matt Agar 23-yard pass from Logan Goldsbery (kick blocked)
RFH - Oliver Lorraine 36-yard field goal
R - Kieran Falzon 68-yard run (John Molnar kick)
R - Kieran Falzon 2-yard run (John Molnar kick)
RFH - Alastair Orr 7-yard run (Michael Juarez kick)
R - Kieran Falzon 70-yard run (John Molnar kick)
RFH - Scott Venancio 4-yard pass from Owen O'Toole (Oliver Lorraine kick)
RFH - Cole Cashion 60-yard pass from Owen O'Toole (Michael Juarez kick)
RFH - Oliver Lorraine 26-yard field goal
RFH - Scott Venancio 19-yard pass from Owen O'Toole (Oliver Lorraine kick)
Rushing - RFH: Alastair Orr 15-61, Brayden Dill 6-9, Jackson Gallagher 3-6, Scott Venancio 2-2, Owen O'Toole 1-0 ; R: Kieran Falzon 46-308, Dan Calicari 7-14, Jayden Craft 1-6, Logan Goldsbery 2-(-12)
Passing - RFH: Owen O'Toole 22-39-0 282; R: Logan Goldsbery 1-5-1 23
Receiving - RFH: Nick Rigby 11-103, Scott Venancio 7-88, Cole Cashion 3-77, Nick Thomas 1-14; R: Matt Agar 1-23
Interceptions-Return Yards: RFH: Beau Kemler 1-12