Rumson-Fair Haven advanced to the state finals after blowing past Long Branch on Friday Night, October 29th. 43-6.
This is a Photojournalism article, for the fuller picture see the linked photo spread.
Gale force winds and driving rain out of the West was the third combatant on the field Friday night. Both teams had preserved through long bruising seasons to earn their place on that field and both came prepared expecting to emerge victorious.
For the seniors, the last regulation game of the season meant the end to a grueling but rewarding four year run.
Mother Nature in all her furry made a surprise appearance in full force. The National Weather Service reported sustained winds between 20-30 MPH with gale force wind gusts reaching 42 MPH. Winds in excess of 38 MPH are squarely in the realm of Tropical Cyclone force winds.
Rumson-Fair Haven won the toss and wisley elected to run the ball.. With the wind and horizontal rain in the faces of the Long Branch line, Rumson-Fair Haven under the leadership of Senior Colin Kennedy as Quarterback [#12], drove successfully, quickly putting numbers on the board. Kennedy, who is equally comfortable in passing and running, chose to drive the ball forward with Geoff Schroeder [#20] rather than passing through the unpredictable wind gusts.
On one 4th down punt, Long Branch was sent running into their own backfield to chase down their own kick which did not touch down until it hit the track. And Rumson-Fair Haven was denied an extra point when their kick sailed through the uprights, stopped mid-flight, and returned through the uprights landing on the 5 yard line.
While that brief synopsis and the linked photos can only relate the majority of the event’s conditions, the howling winds, rain and darkness round out the conditions. Line referees found it nearly impossible to keep the ten yard markers vertical, end zone markers refused to stay in place, and this photographer ended up feeling thoroughly pummeled from the constant buffeting and with ringing ears from the 90 minutes standing unprotected on the field.
Rumson-Fair Haven plays Next Friday night, 11-5-2021 at Home.