It didn’t take Red Bank Catholic long to begin dominating Monsignor Donovan.
The Caseys, No. 1 in the Asbury Park Press Top 10, exploded for 40 first-half points, including 20 in the opening quarter, as they sped past the Griffins, 54-0, in the NJSIAA Non-Public III quarterfinals Friday night at Count Basie Field.
Junior running back Larry Redaelli rushed for two touchdowns and 96 yards on eight carries. Senior James Taylor returned two punts for touchdowns, powering the fourth-seeded Caseys (9-0) into the semifinals against St. Joseph of Montvale, a 57-20 winner over Bishop Ahr of Edison.
The Caseys unleashed a punishing ground assault, battering the fifth-seeded Griffins for 294 yards on 22 carries. The winners rushed for 269 first-half yards on 14 attempts.
In the game’s waning seconds, winning coach Jim Portela turned to his team and said, “Nice job.” Donovan coach Dan Duddy, who led both teams in the “Our Father” after the game at midfield, turned to the Caseys and said, “Good luck guys.”
“They didn’t slant a lot and our line did a great job of getting to the gaps,” Redaelli said. “Everyone fulfilled their responsibility. We played physical. We played fast and we played smart.
“This is a playoff game. Everyone is zero and zero to start the playoffs. It’s one loss and you’re out.”
Redaelli, who scored on runs of 21 and 3 yards, said the Caseys were highly motivated.
“We came out ready to play,” he said. “We were pumped for it. Our coaches pumped us up beyond belief. We came out and wanted it and we got what we wanted.”
Taylor raced 45 yards for one score and sped 68 yards for another touchdown.
“My teammates gave me great blocks,” he said. “Our guys got to their first defenders real well. They picked their guys off. I just had to run to the end zone. I didn’t have to make very many moves.”
Taylor said he was impressed with the Caseys’ offensive line.
“It did a great job,” he said. “It opened large holes. We got 10 yards a pop. That set the tempo and showed Donovan we were going to be physical for the entire game. Nobody expected an easy game from them. We had to get past their initial surge. They came out hard in the first five minutes of the game.”