DePaul NJ football falls to Red Bank Catholic in non-public B final
DePaul has said goodbye to his candidacy for a state football championship and his chance at the No.1 ranking in New Jersey.
The Spartans, No. 3 USA TODAY NETWORK in the New Jersey Top 25, lost to No. 10 Red Bank Catholic, 13-8, in the Group B non-public final on Friday night at MetLife Stadium.
DePaul’s final throw into the end zone was incomplete. On a fourth and 11 of 30, second-year quarterback Patrick Grusser’s pitch to the end zone was blocked by a Catholic defenseman from Red Bank.
âWe’ve been great on defense all year, I thought we were again tonight, and we just couldn’t do it offensively,â DePaul coach Nick Campanile said. “Scoring eight points in a state championship won’t be enough against a great team like these guys.”
Grusser replaced senior starter AJ Rodriguez, who suffered a concussion in the first quarter, Campanile said. Grusser went 10-for-16 for 74 yards.
âWe played a sophomore who played with all his heart and I think he played really well for the situation he was put in,â Campanile said. âHe has the heart of a champion and I look forward to two more years with him.
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Red Bank Catholic took a 13-8 lead 2:11 of third on a 2-yard TD executed by senior quarterback Alex Brown. The Caseys drive covered 14 plays and 71 yards and included a false punt and full pass on a fourth and 3 of their own 36.
DePaul scored on first possession in the third quarter for an 8-7 lead, as senior running back Tyler Brown scored on an 11-yard run at 8:51. Brown’s TD topped an 8-game, 71-yard practice, and he ran to the right, then slashed sharply to the left for the end zone.
DePaul reduced the deficit to 7-2 when sophomore Jeremy Lopez blocked a punt in the back of the end zone at 4:54 of the first quarter. He came in on a fourth and four on the 11-yard line and Lopez blocked him right on the goal line.
Red Bank Catholic scored in the game’s first possession, Brown tossing a 33-yard touchdown pass to junior Najih Rahman at 8:59 of the first quarter. The scoring campaign covered eight plays and 71 yards, a majority of his 103 yards in the first half.
What this means
DePaul (9-3) could still remain in the Top 10 in the state rankings, pending several results, while Red Bank Catholic (11-1) is expected to climb several places.
DePaul entered the weekend ranked behind Bergen’s # 1 Catholic and # 2 in the Northern Highlands. To finish No.1, the Spartans needed a win, combined with a Bergen Catholic loss on Saturday to Don Bosco in the non-public A final and a Northern Highlands loss to Irvington in the Group 4 North final on next weekend.
The winning motivation of Red Bank Catholic was key. On the false punt, the fourth game of practice, junior Sabino Portella threw a 12-yard finish to senior Joe Diorio.
âI thought we had to move the ball opportunistically because it’s great defense, and make a few plays in the running game because they’re phenomenal,â said Catholic Red Bank coach Mike Lange. âBut we have a good defense. , too much.”
By the numbers
DePaul had 276 total yards. Sophomore Jadin Johnson carried 12 times for 107 yards, while Tyler Brown rushed 16 times for 73 yards.
Red Bank Catholic had 197 yards. Alex Brown, whose mother died earlier this month of breast cancer, rushed 11 times for 69 yards and one touchdown and threw 5 for 10 for 59 yards and one score.
DePaul had to change his game plan after Rodriguez left. He is a strong runner and has carried twice for 20 yards. He was 1-for-6 for 3 yards and an interception.
âA big part of our plan was to lead AJ. He’s a great runner, and the way they play defensively, they give you some quarterback points, “Campanile said.” That was really our main goal tonight, and we just didn’t have that. But no excuses, and hats off to them, a class program.
They said it
âI think we started a bit slow. We were talking about it this week, how imperative it was to leave quickly. I don’t think we did that. They lost 7-0 at the start, âsaid DePaul senior defensive back Edward Conoran. âWe gathered our things halfway through the game and started shutting them down. They were pulling a lot of stuff and stuff, but I think we did what we had to do at the end of the day, but it wasn’t enough.
âI’m really proud of these guys,â Campanile said. âWe caught a few bad breaks tonight, but we never gave up, and that has been our mantra all year. They play as hard as they can.
Greg Mattura is a sports reporter for NorthJersey.com. For full access to live scores, the latest news and analysis from our Varsity Aces team, subscribe today. To receive the latest news straight to your phone, sign up for our newsletter and download our app.