By Walter O’Neill, Jr., October 28, 2021 – On a miserable night with rain pelting sideways and wind gusts of 50-mph, Geoff Schroeder seemed at home in the elements. The senior running back on the Rumson-Fair Haven football team completely shredded the Green Wave defense on Friday night, gaining 253 yards on 25 carries.
Schroeder had four rushing touchdowns for the Bulldogs as they dominated Long Branch taking a 43-6 victory and improved to 7-1 on the season. Everyone in Bressett Stadium, including the Wave defense unit knew that when RFHwas on offense they would hand the ball to Schroeder. He was just unstoppable with his longest run being 70 yards.
The night didn’t start off well for Long Branch. They had the ball first and were deep in their own end of the field where the first three plays resulted in negative yards. They were forced to punt from their own end zone, the snap was over the head of the kicker and went out the back for a two-point safety.
On the ensuing kickoff, Long Branch had to kick into the wind with the ball only traveling 10 yards giving the Blue Dogs a first down at the Wave 35-yard line. Six plays into the game Long Branch had three penalties. The first touchdown of the game for RFH came on a 13-yard pass with 7:33 left in the first quarter. They converted on the two-point conversion and were up 10-0 on Long Branch.
Long Branch was called for another penalty and Dan George, head coach of the Green Wave, said “come on Tony” to the head official. That official then turned and hit George with an unsportsmanlike penalty giving the Bulldogs a first and goal at the 10-yard line. “Really, after 30 years of coaching that is how I am treated? You hit me with a penalty, not even a sideline warning?” George said to the official. Next play, Rumson-Fair Haven ran in for the touchdown and were up 17-0 on Long Branch.
Long Branch was hit with another unsportsmanlike penalty when Rodriguez hit a Bulldog player late of bounds. That gave RFH a first down at the Wave 16-yard line. The first mistake Rumson-Fair Haven made was a fumble on the Long Branch 10-yard line. It was picked up by Shamar Williams who ran it to RFH’s 40-yard line.
Long Branch than had a fourth and 14 from midfield. The snap to Rodriguez was at his ankles, but he was able to pick it up, roll to his right and fire a bomb to Earnest Reevey, sophomore, for a 35-yard completion. The first quarter ended with Long Branch down 17-0 and having a first and goal at the RFH 10.
Three plays into the second quarter, Long Branch had a third and four at the RFH five-yard line. Rodriguez dropped back to pass and the ball was intercepted in the end zone.
Rumson-Fair Haven was unable to move the ball on their next offensive series and were forced to punt from midfield. It was blocked, and Williams, who had hands of glue in the bad weather, picked up the ball and ran untouched for the lone Green Wave touchdown. With seven minutes left in the first half the Bulldogs were up 17-6 and Long Branch seemed to gain momentum.
Rumson-Fair Haven recaptured the momentum on their next series capping it off with the 30-yard touchdown. With 4:20 left in the first half, RFH was up 25-6.
On the ensuing RFH kick, the ball hit a LB player and was recovered by the Bulldogs on the Green Wave 30. The Long Branch defense held and the teams went into the halftime break with RFH up 25-6.
Rumson Fair-Haven added 18 additional points in the second half. Once they had a 33-point advantage over the Green Wave the mercy rule went into effect, keeping the clock running. Schroeder had touchdown runs of 13, 27, 8 and his 70-yard run in the third quarter.
In the American division of the Shore Conference, Rumson-Fair Haven is on top with a 7-1 record. They are followed by Colts Neck 5-3, Wall 5-3, Toms River North 4-3 and Donovan Catholic 5-4.
Long Branch plays in the Freedom division where they are in first with a 6-1 record. The loss to Rumson, was the first of the year for the Wave. St. John Vianney is in second at 3-6, Freehold Borough 5-4, Toms River South 3-5, and Toms River East 1-7.
The NJSIAA state playoff brackets were announced and Rumson-Fair Haven is the top seed in the Central Jersey, Group 3. They will host Oakcrest on November 5. Number two in that group is Woodrow Wilson, Manasquan is seeded third followed by Burlington Township, Delran, Holmdel, Triton and Oakcrest.
Long Branch will play in the South Jersey, Group 4 bracket. Millville is top seed followed by Ocean City, Long Branch, Pennsauken, Central Regional, Freehold Borough, Mainland and Toms River South.
November 5, Long Branch will host Freehold Borough in the opening round. The two teams meet this season back on September 18, where the Wave won 29-14.
Click on the photo for a caption.
Visit www.Facebook.com/TheLinkNews to see a video of the third and fourth quarters of the game. Additional photos will be posted at www.Facebook.com/TheLinkSports.