NEPTUNE Senior safety Colin Shaughnessy said Red Bank Catholic sought to improve its run defense Friday night and keep Neptune from striking with big plays.
Mission accomplished. No. 3 RBC pitched a 35-0 shutout in the Shore Conference Class B North game and held the Scarlet Fliers to 78 yards of offense.
“Last week we gave up a little too much yardage and worked pretty hard on getting ready,’’ said Shaughnessy, who is considering Patriot League schools. “We’re really happy getting a shutout. That’s really always the goal for our defense. That shows perfection.’’
Senior running back Michael Wilen scored three touchdowns, including a 25-yard scoring pass from quarterback Eddie Hahn in the second quarter, as the Caseys (3-0, 2-0) became the second straight team to blank Neptune (0-3, 0-2).
Hahn, in his second game back after a knee injury, completed 11 of 20 passes for 161 yards.
RBC captured its first NJSIAA football championship in 38 seasons a year ago. Coach Jim Portella says he now has “a young football team, but we’re going to keep improving every week. We’re happy to play well against a proud program that Neptune is. The reason we like shutouts when we get them is that it’s a reflection of how the whole team, not just the defense, played.’’
Indeed, RBC owned a 21-0 halftime lead but put the game out of a reach with an eight-minute possession in the third quarter that was capped by Hahn’s eight-yard touchdown run.
“If you want to keep the other team from scoring, you have to shorten the game up, and that’s what our offense did in the third quarter,’’ Portella said.
Wilen, who rushed for 71 yards, scored consecutive touchdowns in the second quarter and he finished his big night by capping the scoring with a six-yard run with 8:19 left in the fourth quarter. Dylan Murphy paced RBC with 84 rushing yards.
RBC opened the scoring with an eight-yard run by senior Liam McArdle. The Hahn to Wilen touchdown pass made it 14-0 with 8:13 left in the second quarter.
“I think Hahn is playing very well since coming back,’’ Portella said. “You saw him use his feet a couple of times and he’ll keep getting better.’’
KEY PLAY: RBC kicker Max Hazard decided to hit a line drive game-opening kickoff that a Neptune front player couldn’t hang onto and Connor Moore recovered the loose ball to get the Caseys off to a great start.
OFFENSIVE GAME BALL: Michael Wilen ran for a pair of touchdowns and caught a TD pass from Eddie Hahn for RBC.
DEFENSIVE GAME BALL: Neptune’s Kahmar Rice had a first half-ending interception for one of the Scarlet Fliers’ highlights.
UP NEXT: RBC hosts Wall and Neptune visits Red Bank Friday.
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