RUMSON – Red Bank Catholic senior Emanuel Ross is one of the most dynamic wide receivers in New Jersey, but he showed on Friday night not to sleep on him as one of the best shutdown corners in the Shore Conference.

Ross slowed down Rumson-Fair Haven standout wide receiver Nick Rigby, and senior defensive back Stephen Myers had a pair of interceptions as the Caseys pulled away with a big fourth quarter for a 34-6 victory over Rumson-Fair Haven in a top-five showdown in the American Division.

Senior Luke Wassef added 103 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 12 carries as the Caseys erupted for three touchdowns in the span of 1:05 in the fourth quarter to blow open a close game at Borden Stadium.

RBC’s defense produced four turnovers and limited prolific Rumson junior quarterback Owen O’Toole to 83 yards on 10-for-26 passing, intercepting him three times. The Caseys (3-1, 2-0), ranked No. 2 in the Shore Sports Network Shore 16, beat the No. 4 Bulldogs (2-2, 1-2) for the 16th time in their last 17 meetings in the 66th edition of their longtime rivalry. RBC also won its 10th straight game against Shore Conference opponents.

RBC senior wide receiver Emanuel Ross hauls in a 12-yard TD catch in the first half. (Photo by Thomas Pantaleo)
RBC senior wide receiver Emanuel Ross hauls in a 12-yard TD catch in the first half against Rumson-Fair Haven in the Caseys' 34-6 win. (Photo by Thomas Pantaleo)

Ross, who is verbally committed to Stanford, played an outstanding all-around game. He had 5 catches for 54 yards and two touchdowns on offense while helping shut down the Bulldogs’ passing attack.

“I definitely think that is an underrated part of my game,” he said about playing defense. “I like to call myself a football player, an athlete, and not just a receiver or a DB. I just want to do whatever I can to help my team to be successful.”

RBC limited Rigby, who led the Shore Conference in catches last year, to 5 catches for 41 yards and one touchdown with Ross matched up man-to-man with him for most of the game.

“I wouldn't say there was really any challenge,” Ross said. “I just came out here to play my game, and I did what I do.”

“He's one of the best athletes, if not the best athlete, that I've seen,” said Pittsburgh-bound RBC linebacker Davin Brewton. “He's a different breed.”

Ross almost works like RBC’s own Sauce Gardner of the New York Jets, cutting the field in half by taking away the other team’s top receiving threat and forcing the quarterback to look to the other side to make plays.

“When you can play Cover and have him play half the field and then rotate away from it, it's just huge,” RBC coach Mike Lange said. “I know his thing is receiver, but he's pretty damn good at corner.”

The Caseys jumped out to a 14-0 lead by the second quarter on touchdown catches of 22 and 12 yards by Ross from junior quarterback Frankie Williams.


Rumson built some momentum going into halftime when it mounted a 16-play, 91-yard drive that ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass from O’Toole to Rigby with 5 seconds left in the half to trim RBC’s lead to 14-6 after the PAT was no good.

Rumson only had 27 total yards before that drive to end the half. The Bulldogs got a spark from sophomore running back Kellen Murray, who had 64 yards on 8 carries on the drive in his first touches of the game.

“They were catching us in our sub packages, and they were running the ball,” Lange said. “We kind of played more base vanilla fronts and Cover and just tackled better in the second half. That was really it.”

RBC held Rumson to 43 total yards and one first down in the second half, erasing the Bulldogs' run game to the tune of minus-1 yard on 14 carries.

“We just knew we were going to have to buckle up and just wrap up and not let them get extra yards after contact,” Ross said.

“We just ran our regular defense,” said Wassef, who’s also a standout linebacker. “We were playing a lot of man coverage and we just went to our basic Cover 3, Cover 2. Just got back to the basics.”

They harassed O’Toole into 5-for-11 passing for 44 yards after halftime and picked him off twice amid the gusting winds from the impending tropical storm. RBC’s defense has now only allowed 13 total points in three games against Shore Conference competition this season.

“We got some pass rush,” Lange said. “(O'Toole) is not fast, but he buys himself time and throws at weird arm angles. But I think we were pretty physical on the perimeter getting our hands on guys.”

However, Rumson was hanging right in the game still only down by one score. They had a chance to potentially tie the game, but Myers snagged his second interception at RBC’s 1-yard line on fourth down to kill a Bulldogs drive with 1:27 left in the third quarter.

Wassef then got it going in the fourth quarter to extend the RBC lead. He ran three times for 47 yards on a 55-yard drive that culminated in his 17-yard touchdown burst to push the advantage to 21-6 with 7:30 left in the game.

“On our outside zone, inside zone, a lot of our pullers did a great job, and I was just running behind my guys,” Wassef said.

“We were beating them down physically,” Ross said. “We knew they couldn't match up, so we just had to come out and execute and get rid of the penalties and the mistakes and finish our drives.”

The Caseys recovered a fumble on Rumson’s 11-yard line on the Bulldogs’ ensuing possession. They immediately cashed in when Wassef scored on the first play for a 28-6 advantage with 6:34 left in the game.

Brewton then put the cherry on top with a 28-yard interception return for a touchdown only nine seconds later.

RBC’s victory comes amid the debate over which team is the No. 1 squad in the Shore following Donovan Catholic’s takedown last week of the previous top-ranked team, Toms River North, to end the Mariners’ 17-game winning streak. The unbeaten Griffins are now ranked No. 1 in the SSN Shore 16.

“Everyone and their mom knows that we're really the best team around here, so we just want to keep proving to people that we're the best and we're just going to put points on you,” Brewton said. “We had a slow start tonight, but we finished great.”

In the win over Rumson, the Caseys battled through 12 penalties for 85 yards, and a few more penalties that weren’t enforced because they were offsetting. Lange emphasized to his team that they need to clean it up before next week’s nonconference showdown on the road against Seton Hall Prep, which is a deceiving 1-3 due to a brutal schedule. The Pirates shut RBC out 17-0 last year.

“We made a lot of mistakes, especially flags,” Wassef said. “A lot of false starts. We can't have that against a team like Seton Hall Prep.”

“If we do some of the things we did tonight and last week, we're going to have our hands full,” Lange said.

Box score

Red Bank Catholic 34, Rumson-FH 6


.                                      RBC                RFH

First downs                    15                  8

Rushes-yards                30-186          29-94

Passing                         10-16-1       10-26-3

Passing yards                88                �� 83

Penalties                       12-85              7-49

Fumbles-lost                �� 1-1                2-1


RB Catholic (3-1, 2-0)  7  7  0  20 – 34

Rumson-FH (2-2, 1-2)   0  6  0   0  -   6

Scoring summary

RBC – Ross 22-yard pass from F. Williams (LaMorte kick).

RBC – Ross 12-yard pass from F. Williams (LaMorte kick).

RFH – Rigby 5-yard pass from O’Toole (kick failed).

RBC – Wassef 17-yard run (LaMorte kick).

RBC – Wassef 11-yard run (LaMorte kick).

RBC – Brewton 28-yard INT return (pass failed).


Individual statistics

Rushing – RBC: Wassef 12-103, F. Williams 10-44, Gutridge 6-34, Ross 1-6, Gibson 1-(-1). RFH: Orr 4-12, Murray 15-66, O’Toole 4-7, Gallagher 1-0, Kolb 1-(-1), Winters 4-0.

Passing – RBC: F. Williams 10-16-1 88. RFH: O’Toole 10-26-3 83.

Receiving – RBC: Ross 5-54, J. Williams 3-16, Myers 1-3, Gutridge 1-15. RFH: Gallagher 2-24, Rigby 5-41, Thomas 2-11, Gangemi 1-7.

Interceptions – RBC: Myers 2-0, Brewton 1-28. RFH: Pangborn 1-0.

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