There has yet to be an emotion invented that Alex Brown did not experience through the month of November.

Sorrow and exhilaration. Helplessness and confidence. Frustration and determination. The Red Bank Catholic senior ran the gamut and came out on top because two of his best qualities remained intact – faith and courage.

After losing his mom, Michelle, to a lengthy battle with cancer Nov. 11, Brown quarterbacked RBC to three straight playoff wins and the NJSIAA Non-Public Group B championship. The Caseys won the title with a 13-8 win over DePaul Catholic High School, Wayne, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford Nov. 26.

The night after Michelle passed, Brown scored eight touchdowns in a win over Morris Catholic High School, Denville. The next week, he scored two more TDs against St. Joseph Academy, Hammonton. Against DePaul he ran for the winning touchdown.

Alex assured that his mom was by his side the entire time.

“Oh, 100 percent,” he said. “Not just the three playoff games, but I feel her every day … I’m just glad she’s with me because nothing would be able to happen without her and God.”

Rajahn Cooper has played four years with Brown and was hardly phased by how the quarterback got stronger as the circumstances got rougher.

“Alex didn’t surprise me at all this year,” Cooper said. “This is the Alex I know, and I think the best of him came out in these big times and big games.”  

The first obstacle Brown (and Cooper) faced this year was when Mater Dei, Middletown, shut down its football program last summer. Suddenly, one of the state’s top quarterbacks was unsure of where he would be playing his senior season.

“I was in shock,” said Brown, who will play at Lehigh University next year.

“I didn’t know what position I was gonna be in, I had no idea what to think,” he said, then noted that he and his father looked at a couple of other schools with teams “and we ended up choosing RBC, and it was the best season of my life.”

Being at RBC also helped Brown in another key area of his life.

“Going to Red Bank Catholic kind of opened my eyes a little bit, not just religiously but spiritually,” he said. “My mom was always a spiritual person. So, I leaned on her angels and it gave me a little more peace just praying and knowing she was listening. It was pretty awesome.”  

As for the gridiron, once he and the other Mater Dei transfers got comfortable with their new teammates, RBC reeled off eight straight wins before falling to Donovan Catholic, Toms River. That loss was followed by three playoff wins.

Despite being a Caseys’ newcomer, Brown became an instant leader.

“He’s a kid who started for three years,” coach Mike Lange said. “He knows what’s going on here. He’s a good kid, the kids respect him, they get along with him.”

On the field, Brown’s teammates quickly followed his lead. Off the field, they knew he was dealing with a major issue at home with his mother being so ill. His teammates wept for him and supported him when Michelle passed away. And they marveled at how he dealt with it.  

“He’s definitely one of the kids who is mentally tough,” teammate Alex Bauman said. “He just stepped up in every way. We supported him through everything. With the passing of his mom, we were there for him and we rallied around him. Football was his escape from everything, so he came to us and we rallied around him.”

Brown admitted that football served as an outlet for him as he helplessly watched his mother, with whom he was extremely close, slip away.

“Each day, each night I would get the game plan ready, talk to the guys, make sure everyone’s ready. I just locked in each week, day in and day out,” he said. “This sport kind of allows you to do certain things that you’d never really be allowed to do in life. I think that’s the beauty of it and I’m just so grateful for it.”

Many may not have realized that during the playoff rush, Brown, in addition to his grief, was also handling many media requests. After his remarkable game against Morris Catholic, outlets including ESPN and CBS as well as local papers were seeking interviews: a challenge to which Brown responded with maturity, class and support from friends, family and coaches.

Though it took time for him to negotiate all of the media requests, Brown said that one moving experience was hearing many stories, even from strangers, “about people they knew who had family members with cancer; loved ones that died … I just wanted people to know that there is hope in the world, there is a lot of inspiration. I just wanted to help out with that.”

Despite the attention, Alex’s ego never grew. He remained focused on his teammates and was kept humble by Michelle’s spirit. 

In summing up the wild ride, Brown said, “It’s pretty intense, it’s hard to put into words. I’m just glad I got it done with my guys and my family. Ending up winning the state championship just ties it all together for the perfect story.”