Red Bank looks capable of deep run in Class 4A

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Red Bank's Jaden Baccus carries the ball after a catch during a playoff game against Stone Memorial in November 2021.

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Head coach: Ted Gatewood (first year here; 97-104 overall)

Returning starters: 5 offensive; 6 defensive

Last year's record: 8-4 overall, lost in Class 4A quarterfinals

Key players: AD Crutcher (5-10, 175) Sr. RB/LB, Daune Morris (5-11, 180) So. RB/LB, Kobe Smith (6-3, 185) Jr. DL, Malik Rizer (6-0, 190) Jr. LB, Cordarrious Moore (6-4, 185) So. DL, Jaden Baccus (5-11, 170) Sr. WR/DB, Tyler Wright (5-10, 175) Sr. WR/DB, Jacob Valovcin (6-1, 270) Sr. OL, Cameron Jackson (6-0, 220) Sr. LB, Jake Brune (6-1, 175) Sr. QB

Season outlook: The reigning Region 3-4A champions appear set for another big season as one of the area's dynamic duos returns at running back.

Last season, Crutcher had 144 rushes for 1,195 yards - including six 100-yard games - and 15 touchdowns. Opposing defenses will not get a break even with the senior on the sideline, though, because Morris is a rising star who already has an offer from Vanderbilt after totaling 714 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman.

"We are extremely blessed to have two young men such as AD and Daune in the backfield," Gatewood said. "They provide a lot of electricity and have unbelievable talent. Those are things that we are going to lean on because of their abilities and what they have shown us day in and day out."

Baccus and Wright are key returners at receiver and defensive back, but the Lions do have some questions up front and a new quarterback. Valovcin is the only starter on the O-line back from last season, but Ian Rabon and Colt Reese look capable of stepping up right away after gaining valuable playing time filling in for injured teammates last year.

Brune has taken command quickly at quarterback.

"He understands the distribution and the things he needs to do to make our offense successful," Gatewood said. "It's not too big for him. He is ready for it."

In a tough region with Central and East Hamilton, Red Bank should have a big advantage on the edges defensively, where Smith and Moore could be breakout performers. Rizer is also a standout at linebacker, and Notre Dame senior transfer Tyler Berry could be productive on both sides of the ball.