The Cardinal McCarrick High School football team fell to the Point Pleasant Beach, 41-6, on Friday night in the Eagles’ home opener at Raritan Bay Waterfront Park.
The rushing attack and smothering defense of the Garnet Gulls proved to be too much for an Eagles team that had only 18 players dressed for the game.
McCarrick’s defense allowed four rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown as Point Pleasant Beach scored on its first two offensive plays of the game. The Gulls also scored on an interception return late in the first quarter to give them a 20-0 lead with just over three minutes left. Despite the lopsided loss, first-year head coach Mario Alejandro saw some things the team can build on going forward.
“We finally started to execute in the second half,” Alejandro said. “I just think everybody came out tight so hopefully we’ll build on our second half and start executing some more.”
The Eagles were able to get into Gulls territory just twice in the first half. Senior quarterback Armand Arnaldy connected with senior wideout Jeremy Arroyo for 41 yards to bring the Eagles to the Gulls 31-yard line on their first drive of the game. However, the drive then stalled as the Eagles had consecutive runs result in a loss and a sack on third-and-long. A botched snap on the fourth-down punt attempt gave the Gulls great field position, and they never looked back. They connected on a 30-yard passing touchdown on their first offensive play from scrimmage.
As a captain playing both sides of the ball for the Eagles, Arnaldy knew the odds were against them especially with an undersized roster, but he remained positive.
“We know the odds are against us,” Arnaldy said. “We’re playing teams that are 60 players deep and we still play. We got 18 and we just have to go hard. We can’t take anything for granted, and we have to keep pushing and that’s my job as a leader.”
The Eagles were much more effective on the ground in the second half. Arnaldy was able to rip off a 15-yard run on a third-and-9 to bring his team to the Gulls’ 22-yard-line near the end of the third quarter — the longest rush of the night for the Eagles. McCarrick’s lone score came on a Raymond Prato 1-yard touchdown plunge to make the score 41-6 in the fourth.
Cardinal McCarrick visits Mater Dei next Saturday afternoon, and Coach Alejandro’s attention now shifts to getting his team focused for their next matchup.
“Short-term memory. Forget about this,” Alejandro said. “Point Beach is a good team, hats off to them. They were 10-1 last year. We were a little tight and short on kids. Definitely short memory, and we’ll pick it up next week.”
Kickoff is at 1 p.m next Saturday as the Eagles look for their first win and more positives to build on.