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Week 12

Friday, Nov. 18

NJSIAA State Playoffs

Non-Public B, Semifinals

1-Red Bank Catholic 50, 4-Holy Spirit 21

Senior running back/safety Sabino Portella ran for 190 yards and three touchdowns and intercepted a pass on defense, junior wide receiver Emanuel Ross caught four passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns, and the Caseys (10-1) rallied from an early deficit and dominated the second half to defeat the Spartans (8-2) and return to the Non-Public B championship game.

Red Bank Catholic will play DePaul in the Non-Public B championship game next Friday, Nov. 25, at MetLife Stadium. DePaul defeated St. Joseph (Hammonton), 35-14, in the other semifinal. It will be a rematch of last season's title game won by RBC, 13-8.

Holy Spirit jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead before RBC rallied to tie the score late in the first half and then exploded in the second half. The Spartans marched 77 yards in 12 plays and took a 7-0 lead on a 3-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Jahcere Ward. Then, on RBC's first offensive play, Caseys' sophomore quarterback Frankie Williams was stripped as he was winding up to throw. The fumble was returned 50 yards for a touchdown by senior linebacker Xavier Hernandez for a 14-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.

RBC answered on the next drive with a 3-yard touchdown run by Portella and then tied the game at 14 when a short punt led to Portella scoring on a 32-yard run late in the first quarter. Holy Spirit went ahead 21-14 on an 8-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Sean Burns to junior wideout Tahmir Jones.

Holy Spirit was not kicking the ball deep on kickoffs all game and instead used onside/squib kicks. That method gave RBC the ball around midfield most drives and this time it led to Williams tossing a 36-yard touchdown pass to Ross with just eight seconds left in the first half to tie the score at 21 after Justin LaMorte's extra point.

The second half was all Red Bank Catholic as the home squad scored on all five of their offensive possessions to win in convincing fashion. Senior running back Torin Harmon finished with 75 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and his first touchdown from 11 yards out gave RBC a 28-21 lead early in the third quarter. A blocked punt by Aidan Donohue then set up LaMorte for a 23-yard field goal that made it 31-21.

A 1-yard touchdown run by Portella extended the lead to 38-21 and he then intercepted a pass by Burns to give the Caseys the ball right back. They ended up punting, but on the next play, and during a sudden and intense snow squall, junior linebacker Davin Brewton intercepted a deflected pass for another turnover by the RBC defense. Williams and Ross followed with a 41-yard touchdown connection on the next play for a 44-21 lead.

Harmon added a 29-yard touchdown run later in the fourth quarter to close out RBC's 10th victory of the season.


Saturday, Nov. 19

NJSIAA State Playoffs

Group 5 Semifinals, at Cherokee High School

Toms River North 42, Edison 14

Junior quarterback Micah Ford ran for 291 yards and five touchdowns on 28 carries and also threw a touchdown pass and ran for a 2-point conversion as the Mariners (13-0) pummeled the Eagles (9-4) to advance to the inaugural Group 5 championship game.

Toms RIver North is also the first team in Shore Conference history with 13 wins in a season.

Ford scored on runs of 52, 2, 7, and 17 in the first half when Toms River North built a 28-0 lead. He tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Tareq Council early in the third quarter for a 35-0.

Edison clawed back to make it 35-14 on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Matt Yascko to Michael Strachan and then a 1-yard touchdown run by Yasko after recovering an onside kick. In between, there was a fracas in the end zone that resulted in one player from each team being ejected - sophomore running back Nyekir Eato for Edison and Tareq Council for Toms River North. Council's status for the state final is yet to be determined.

Toms River North then added a sixth touchdown when Ford ran for a 16-yard touchdown with 10:42 left in the game.

Junior running back Josh Moore added 76 yards rushing on 11 carries.

Toms River North will play the winner of Sunday's semifinal game between Passaic Tech and West Orange. The Group 5 final will be played at Rutgers University on either Saturday, Dec. 4, or Sunday, Dec. 5.

Check back for an expanded story, video highlights, and photos by Ray Rich Photography.


Regular Season


Asbury Park 48, Neptune 7


Sunday, Nov. 20

NJSIAA State Playoffs

Group 2 Semifinals, at Cherokee High School

Rumson-Fair Haven 42, Willingboro 6

The Bulldogs (8-4) dominated the trenches, handled the elements, and put together their most complete game of the season to dominate the Chimeras (6-6) and advance to the inaugural Group 2 championship game.

Senior wide receiver Scott Venancio caught five passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns, junior running back Alastair Orr ran for 91 yards and two touchdowns, and sophomore quarterback Owen O'Toole completed 9 of 14 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns to lead a Rumson offense that was efficient and mistake-free. Junior wideout Sean Trinder had a 10-yard touchdown reception and junior running back Griffin Kolb added a 13-yard touchdown run.

Rumson's defense was outstanding against a dynamic Willingboro offense led by junior running back Derrick Bryant and freshman quarterback Lamar Best. The Bulldogs held Willingboro off the scoreboard until Best threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jayson Harris as time expired. The Chimeras moved the ball on the final possession of the game against Rumson reserves but held to 80 yards of offense for the prior 46 minutes.

The wind was a major factor and Rumson used it to its advantage in the middle quarters, pinning Willingboro in its own end by stopping the run and forcing the Chimeras to punt into fierce wind gusts. Those four punts traveled 13, 6, 5, and 6 yards, respectively.

Rumson will face Caldwell in the Group 2 championship game at Rutgers on the weekend of Dec. 4-5. Caldwell is 12-0 and has the state's longest winning streak at 27 games.

Check back for an expanded game story and video highlights.



30 famous people you might not know were college athletes

Stacker dug deep to find 30 celebrities who were previously college athletes. There are musicians, politicians, actors, writers, and reality TV stars. For some, an athletic career was a real, promising possibility that ultimately faded away due to injury or an alternate calling. Others scrapped their way onto a team and simply played for fun and the love of the sport. Read on to find out if your favorite actor, singer, or politician once sported a university jersey.

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