HOLMDEL – St. John Vianney head coach Derek Sininsky has told the players he coaches at St. John Vianney the following more than once. “This might sound foolish and I’m a head coach, ‘I go, ‘I love watching you guys play. I’m at awe when I watch you play’, ’’ said Sininsky, about what he says to his team
There was a lot to be in awe about St. John Vianney’s performance Friday night as its talent, speed and athleticism all over the field was too much for defending NJSIAA Non-Public Group III champion Red Bank Catholic in a 49-6 win in a Non-Public Group III semifinal.
The Lancers (11-0), who advanced to a sectional final for the first time since 1982 and are trying to win their first sectional championship since 1980, will meet the winner of Saturday’s DePaul-Delbarton game in two weeks at a neutral site in the Non-Public Group III championship game.
St. John Vianney, which has set a school record for wins in a season, jumped on Red Bank Catholic (8-3) from the start and never let the Caseys breathe.
“A lot of teams can’t match up across the board with us,’’ said senior linebacker/running back Calvin Beaty. “But, we work hard. It’s not just athletes. We work hard. Not every team has their best day, but we come to practice and work hard.”
When a team works hard every day and has the talent St. John Vianney does: “It’s a hell of a thing,’’ Beaty said.
Or as Sininsky, who is In his first season at St. John Vianney after previous head coaching stints at Raritan, Monmouth Regional and Marlboro summed up.
“It’s scary,’’ Sininsky said.
St. John Vianney senior quarterback Anthony Brown, who threw two TD passes to Michael Stapert, another to Jeff Sheard and had a 35-yard TD run, said the Lancers’ are “extremely’’ talented when asked how talented the team is.
“I’m going to say this blatantly: We have the best receiving corps in the state,’’ said Brown, who has made a non-binding oral commitment to Boston College. “On any given play, someone is open. Then, the running game with Calvin Beaty and Chris Chukwuneke. On any play, we can score.’’
St. John Vianney, which defeated Red Bank Catholic for the first time since 2002 and snapped a five-game losing streak to the Caseys, opened the scoring when Brown hit the 6-foot-5 Stapert for a 35-yard TD pass on a fourth-and-6 to conclude the first possession.
Then, after a 20-yard punt gave the Lancers possession at the Caseys 35, it took them just three plays to score. Chukwuneke (100 yards on 11 carries) ripped off a 10-yard run. Brown followed with a 15-yard run and Chukwuneke made it 14-0 with an 11-yard TD run.
It took St. John Vianney just three plays to go 95 yards for its third TD. Senior receiver Jeff Sheard raced 62 yards on a “Jet Sweep’’ to the Red Bank Catholic 29. Chukwuneke zig=zagged 29 yards on a spectacular run to make it 21-0.
St. John Vianney went 54 yards in six plays on its next possession with Brown’s 12-yard TD pass to Sheard (101 yards rushing on two carries and two receptions for 17 yards) made it 28-0.
While the Lancers’ offense was showing off their big-play ability, was constantly pressuring Red Bank Catholic senior quarterback Eddie Hahn – sacking him four times in the half.
The Lancers intecepted Hahn four times in the game, including two by senior defensive back Marcque Ellington, one by Brown and another by Samuel East.
Red Bank Catholic did pull within 28-6 early in the third quarter on a 31-yard Hahn to Zack Baie TD pass. The Caseys then recovered the ensuing onsides kick, but could not capitalize.
A Brown 65-yard TD pass to Stapert, Brown’s 35-yard TD run and Zyaire Sterling’s 11-yard TD run closed it out.
Key play: Anthony Brown’s 35-yard TD pass to Michael Stapert on a fourth-and-6 for a TD on the first series of the game set the tone.
Offensive game ball: Anthony Brown, who threw three TD passes and ran for another.
Defensive game ball: St. John Vianney linebackers Tyler Tedeschi and Calvin Beaty, who caused havoc all night.
Up next: St. John Vianney will play either DePaul or Delbarton in the Non-Public Group III championship game in two weeks at probably MetLife Stadium. Red Bank Catholic has concluded its season.
Steven Falk: 732-643-4267; firstname.lastname@example.org
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