Alex Brown Red Bank, Catholic Offensive Player of the Year
In a time when his was shattered, Alex Brown captured the hearts of the Jersey Shore and thousands of others across the country with his persistence. To many, Brown was unknown to them ahead of his viral eight-affected playoff game the day after his mother, Michelle, died after a long battle with cancer.
As much as that game that day will never be forgotten and will always be a part of his legacy, Brown’s depth of impact is deeper than a game.
In an unforgettable senior year, Brown helped lead the Caseys to an 11-1 record and state championship by throwing for 1,823 yards and 22 touchdowns with just two interceptions and rushing for 565 yards. and 10 TDs averaging 7.5 yards per carry. The Caseys defeated DePaul, 13-8, in the NJSIAA Non-Public State B final and Brown scored both touchdowns with a touchdown pass and a touchdown run in the third quarter which was the winning score. .
Brown was instrumental in RBC winning a division title, state championship, and finishing as the No.1 Shore Conference team, and for that, he’s our pick as 2021 Shore Sports Network Offensive Player of the Year.
“It has been an amazing season and an amazing trip,” said Brown. “That feeling at MetLife Stadium just put it all together. There were some tough times throughout the trip, but our coaches and players got it all in place, and the feedback from it all made it even better. It was truly a special trip.
Brown certainly didn’t come out of nowhere, but his winding path to becoming State Champion and Offensive Player of the Year has not been without challenges. He lived most of his life in New York City before his family moved to Rumson and he attended St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City in his freshman year. He was then transferred to Mater Dei Prep where he held two years, two All-Shore caps and helped the Seraphs reach the 2019 non-public Group 3 State Championship game. But in June, Mater Dei has announced that he will not be fielding a varsity squad for the 2021 season. Brown and the rest of the Seraphs now need another school if they are to continue their footballing careers in high school.
Brown’s younger brother Markus attends Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, but it was important for Alex to stay in a Catholic school. He picked Red Bank Catholic, and it turned out to be a magical couple both for the player and for the program, although it was a bit awkward at first.
“I’m going to tell you at the start that they didn’t know what they thought of me,” Brown said. “But that first day, I thought we connected pretty well. There has been a lot of back and forth on social media about me and Rajahn (running back / linebacker Rajahn Cooper) and Ashton (offensive lineman Ashton Mejias) being at Mater Dei first, but the guys really accepted us and it was a pretty great atmosphere. It’s a special place and I’m grateful to these guys for accepting me.
He made his presence felt right away when RBC opened the season with a 34-0 victory over Timber Creek throwing for 223 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 49 yards and a touchdown. The only two flaws on his resume came in the next game when he threw two interceptions against Wall, but he also threw three touchdowns and a 20-16 win. These are the only interceptions he has thrown all season. Brown had only thrown 10 interceptions in two seasons as of this season, but wanted to further refine his accuracy and decision-making at the start of his senior year.
“Working with my quarterback coach during the offseason, I really wanted to focus on my precision and just be efficient,” said Brown.
What has helped Brown take his game to another level is his ability to play on the floor. He showed a big loophole in the win over Timber Creek and that has become a theme throughout the season. It regularly turned potential sacks into big games and also caused damage to the designed tracks.
“The coaches that let me use my legs a bit more were huge,” said Brown. “I’ve never really been able to run as much as this year and using my legs is a big part of my game. Being a double-threat quarterback puts a lot on defense. And having a great (offensive) line like I did this year, it really helps. “
The Caseys were 7-0 after a thrilling 21-14 victory over Rumson-Fair Haven, then beat Manalapan the following week to move up to 8-0. Then came a showdown with Donovan Catholic the final week before the playoffs started. The Griffins beat the Caseys that night in a 28-7 win that knocked RBC out of the undefeated ranks. Six days later, Michelle Brown passed away. Brown was devastated, but his response told you everything you need to know about his resolve.
RBC opened their playoffs the following night and Brown was incredible with eight total TDs in a 58-34 win over Morris Catholic. Throwing on a quarterback towel that said “Mum, this one for you,” Brown threw for 238 yards and six touchdowns and ran for 76 yards and two touchdowns. Her story has traveled everywhere and it didn’t take long for interview requests to pour in from the media at the local and national levels.
“I would say that in football more than in any other sport, family means everything,” said Brown. “Going through something like that, I really relied on my guys and the whole RBC community. I love this whole family, I love my guys and they really helped me through this.
In the non-public B semi-finals, Brown ran for two second-half touchdowns to lead the Caseys to a 21-10 victory over St. Joseph (Hammonton). The victory saw the Caseys advance to the state final where they faced DePaul, who entered the game third in New Jersey.
Brown led the Caseys on a 71-yard campaign to open the game, connecting with junior wide receiver Najih Rahman on a 33-yard touchdown to give RBC an early 7-0 lead. DePaul scored early in the third quarter to take an 8-7 lead, but Brown and the Caseys responded right away with a 2-yard touchdown from Brown late in the third quarter to take a 13-8 lead. It was the final score of the night and soon after, the Casey’s were lifting a state championship trophy.
Brown enjoyed the moment on the grounds of MetLife Stadium, thinking about everything that had happened along the way. He greeted and hugged his teammates, shared a moment with his father, Ray, in the midfield, and walked through the tunnel knowing he had ended his high school career as the state champion. Next stop: Bucknell University.
“There are a lot of things to remember,” Brown said. “My whole journey has been a bit crazy, but it’s been a special season, so there are a lot of good times. I will always remember winning the state championship, watching my guys and seeing how happy they were, knowing all the hard work we did over the summer, my dad crying on the 50 yard line with me and we were as happy as we were. It’s a moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life.