DePaul came back from a 10-0 deficit to beat Red Bank Catholic, 19-17, and avenge their loss to them in last year’s final in Non-Public B.
Red Bank Catholic received the first break of the game late in the first quarter when they punted and recovered a fumble on the 31-yard line. This led to a 21-yard field goal by Justin LaMorte to put the Caseys in front, 3-0 on the second quarter’s first play. After a DePaul punt, RBC stayed on the ground behind the running of Sabino Portella, who scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to make it 10-0.
DePaul answered right away when Jadin Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff to their 40 and Derek Zammit found Dez Jones downfield for a 60-yard touchdown pass and the Spartans were right back in it, trailing, 10-7. Just before the half, they tied the score on a 24-yard field goal by Luke Monteyne.
DePaul went in front for the first time when Anthony Almeida scored on a 7-yard run in the third quarter. In the early fourth quarter, Steven Fiorendino broke through to block a punt that went out of the end zone and DePaul led by two scores, 19-10. RBC drove down the field and scored on a 10-yard pass from Frankie Williams to Robert Stolfa to cut the deficit to two points with 3:22 left. The Caseys defense held DePaul and had their last chance, but turned the ball over on downs and DePaul ran out the clock.
When it looked as if Red Bank Catholic might control the game, DePaul came right back and stayed in the game with the touchdown pass to Jones. I am not a big fan of a play of the game, but if I had to award one, this play would be it because it changed the game.
These two programs are on the same level, playing in the last two Non-Public B title games that were very close. This year, DePaul came out on top, last year it was RBC. Many of the North Jersey football followers look down on the Caseys because of their schedule, but they are a good football team and a good football program. It would not surprise me if these two teams met again in the next few years.
Nonetheless, it is DePaul’s year and they deserve all the credit. And I am very happy for their head coach, Nick Campanile, who was hit in the head by one of his players’ helmets after the game, drawing blood from his hairline.
May these two meet again, next year.