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The Journal magazines are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Sep 15, 2021

RBC Football Team Taking the Season One Game at a Time

By Shanna O’Mara

The Red Bank Catholic football team is known for its talent, and this year should be no exception. With a stacked roster, challenging schedule and focused coach, the team is on track to build upon its storied past of dominance along the Shore. 

“We have a good blend of kids,” second-year Coach Michael Lange said. “We don’t have a really big senior class, but we have a good nucleus of upperclassmen and underclassmen who played last year. We also have three transfers from Mater Dei Prep.”

Leading the team will be captains Alex Bauman (Sr. TE), Ryan McPherson (Sr. DE) and Michael Conneely (Sr. OL). The Mater Dei transfers – Alex Brown (Sr. QB), Ra’Jahn Cooper (Sr. RB) and Ashton Mejias (Jr. OL) – will add to the squad’s depth as it looks ahead to a more vigorous fall. The 2020 season, shortened by the pandemic, ended with a 4-2 record. This year, the Caseys will employ the spread as their base offense and play a four-three defense. Lange said the players needs to keep eyes on just one game at a time and, above all, enjoy themselves on the field. 

“Of course, we’re thinking, ‘Are we going to be playing late into the season? Will we be playing for a championship?’” he said. “But on the human side, we just want to get back to as normal of a season as we can. It’s about giving these kids the experience they deserve. It’s kind of a blended thing, like ‘Hey, we want to win a championship,’ but also, we need to focus on that first game. We need to be 1-0 before we look at a title.” 

As for his team’s response to the pressure of being a top program in the area, Lange said, “We tell our kids to ignore the noise. It’s all about what we can control, and we need to focus on that.” 

RBC returns six starters on offense and seven on defense. Jaidin Haynes (Sr.) will once again fill his role as a wide receiver while Vince Carpenter (Sr.) is an experienced offensive lineman. Other power players include Najih Rahman (Jr. WR) and Lorenzo Portella (So. OL). Portella’s brother, Sabino (Jr. RB), is an All-American wrestler who, Lange said, will bring a unique strength to the game. 

Throughout the season, the Caseys will have all eyes on them. However, some of the most important fans are the ones who have been in these players’ shoes. 

“We want to make alumni proud of what we have going here,” Lange said. “I’m just trying to steer the ship the right way.”