RED BANK - Seton Hall Prep senior defensive back Darren Burton had a simple message for his teammates in the post-game huddle after the Pirates' 17-0 win over Red Bank Catholic Friday night at Count Basie Field in a matchup of teams ranked in the top 10 in the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey Top 25.
"It's going to get better than this,'' Burton said in the post-game huddle. In beating a team ranked in the top 10 for the second straight week, Seton Hall Prep (4-1) was solid in all phases of the game.
The Pirates, ranked No. 4 in the state, controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They were crisp and efficient.
"This was the best game we've played,'' said Burton, who scored the game's first TD on an 8-yard run with 10:55 remaining in the first half. "Every game that we've played so far, we either played a good game on offense, OK on defense or a bad game special teams, or a great game special teams, OK on offense and OK on defense or bad defense.
"This game (Friday night), we all played wonderful as a whole, all three sides of the ball. It was the most complete game we've played.''
Can Seton Hall Prep be a factor in the NJSIAA Non-Public A playoffs?
Non-Public A is probably the most rugged bracket in the state.
Among those who reside in that bracket are St. Peter's Prep, ranked No. 1 in the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey Top 25, No. 2 Don Bosco Prep, No. 3 Bergen Catholic and No. 13 St. Joseph (Montvale), in addition to Seton Hall Prep.
Seton Hall Prep's defeat was 35-14 at Bergen Catholic on Sept. 17. They conclude the regular season with games at Don Bosco Prep, home against St. Joseph (Montvale) and at St. Peter's Prep from Oct. 14-29.
"We are one of the top five teams in the state,'' Burton said. "People may sleep on us, and that's OK. We come ready to work every time for sure.''
Since the defeat to Bergen Catholic, the Pirates have defeated No. 5 Irvington and No. 9 Red Bank Catholic.
Speed and more speed on defense
Red Bank Catholic has speed on offense, especially at the wide receiver position.
However, Seton Hall Prep had the speed in secondary to prevent the Caseys (5-1) from getting a big play in the passing game,
And every time, it looked like Red Bank Catholic might have a big play in the running game, A Seton Hall Prep player, whether it was Burton, senior linebacker Jordan McAlister or senior safety Elijah Rippey would close quickly to make the tackle.
"We have a pursuit drill (in practice),'' McAllister said. "We always run to the ball. We're always working on speed.''
Red Bank Catholic only got inside the Seton Hall Prep 20 once. That came late in the fourth quarter with the score 17-0. The Caseys wound up turning it over on downs at the 10.
Red Bank Catholic, whose starting defense gave up its first TDs of the season, was trailing just 7-0 early in the third quarter and had Seton Hall Prep facing a third-and-16 at the Caseys' 41 when junior quarterback Liam Londergan connected with senior receiver Brody Davis for 22 yards and a first down at the 19.
Three plays later, junior kicker Jack Catchpole made it 10-0 with a 33-yard field goal.
The second key play came when Londergan and senior running back Andrew Daly teamed up for a 40-yard touchdown on a beautifully-executed throwback screen that made it 17-0 with 1:24 remaining in the third quarter.
Seton Hall Prep extended its series lead over Red Bank Catholic to 14-1-1. It is 13-0-1 since a 7-6 Caseys' win in the second meeting in 1950 and has won seven straight since 7-7 tie in 1963.
Seton Hall Prep will host Paramus Catholic (1-4) Oct. 8.
Red Bank Catholic will play at Manalapan (3-3) Oct. 7 in a Shore Conference American Division game.
Seton Hall Prep 17, Red Bank Catholic 0
Seton Hall Prep 0 7 10 0 - 17
Red Bank Catholic 0 0 0 0 - 0
Darren Burton 8 run (Catchpole kick).
Catchpole 33 field goal.
Andrew Daly 40 pass from Liam Londergan (Catchpole kick).
Rushing: SHP: Luigi Pantano 11-45, Darren Burton 2-11, Andrew Daly 6-9, Michael Dunmore 2-3, Brody Davis 2-2, Jayden McClain 1-(-1), Liam Londergan 3-(-8). RBC: Sabino Portella 11-41, Frankie Williams 12-34, Jamie Gutridge 1-7, Luke Wassef 1-5, Vincent Muscillo 1-3, Team 1-(-1). Emanuel Ross 1-(-6).
PASSING: SHP: Londergan 12-17-1-133. RBC: Williams 14-23-0-82.
RECEIVING: SHP: Julius Vicari 3-21, Brody Davis 2-32, Andrew Daly 1-40, Mason Dunmore 1-19, Luigi Pantano 1-10, Luke Sudol 1-8, Danny Easter 1-3, Burton 1-0,. Caleb Pasols 1-0. RBC: Najih Rahman 8-41, Ross 4-32, Jack Bohm-Squicciarini 1-6, Portella 1-3.
INTERCEPTIONS: RBC: Rahman.
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Shore NJ Football: Seton Hall Prep puts it all together against RBC