|VIDEO: Red Bank Catholic rips St. Joe's in startling state semifinal|
From the start, it became clear that Red Bank Catholic would be able to run the ball against St. Joseph in their football state semifinal. And once the Caseys figured out to stop the Green Knights, the game turned into a stunning rout.
Red Bank Catholic scored the final 37 points of the contest to defeat St. Joe's, 44-14, at Count Basie Park. The victory lifts the Caseys into their first state final in 34 seasons.
The Caseys rolled up more than 300 yards rushing, led by Tommy Spernal, who ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Nick Cella had a 54-yard touchdown run and Michael Cordova also ran for a score for Red Bank Catholic.
Quarterback Eddie Hahn only completed four passes for RBC, but two went for touchdowns, including a 35-yarder to Trevor Cowley to tie the game at 14-14 in the second quarter.
St. Joe's looked impressive in the opening quarter, with Brian Kearns running the ball strongly and quarterback Jack Walsh completing a 65-yard touchdown pass to J.T. Giles-Harris. But things went south for the Green Knights. Walsh had eight straight incompletions, including several drops, and the Red Bank Catholic pass rush started to cause havoc.
Kearns ended up with 152 yards and a touchdowns on the ground.
The loss ends a three-year run as Group III state champions for St. Joe's. The Knights are now 7-3 and will finish their season in a Thanksgiving Day game against Don Bosco Prep.
Red Bank Catholic improves to 10-1. The Caseys will meet either Delbarton or St. John Vianney in their first state final since 1980, and will be looking to win their first state title since 1976.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey high school football state playoff game, click play in the box at left.