2015 Shore Sports Network Offensive Player of the Year: Anthony Brown
With a remarkable run of 21 wins and just two losses over the past two seasons, it was obvious St. John Vianney was a program full of talent on both sides of the ball. But for every opponent the Lancers faced their was no question who was the No. 1 player they had to stop.
St. John Vianney’s high-powered offense was driven by senior quarterback Anthony Brown, the 2015 Shore Sports Network Offensive Player of the Year. Brown was a major reason St. John Vianney was able to set a program record for wins in a season with 11, win back-to-back division titles for the first time in history and reach the NJSIAA Non-Public Group III championship for the first time in 33 years.
The Boston College-bound Brown completed 66 percent of his passes for 2,355 yards and 34 touchdowns with just five interceptions, while rushing for over 600 yards and nine touchdowns. His passing yardage and touchdown totals led the Shore Conference, and his 43 total touchdowns are the second most in a season in Shore Conference history, one behind the 44 scored by Mater Dei Prep quarterback Christian Palmer last season. In two seasons as St. John Vianney’s starting quarterback, Brown threw for 4,554 yards and 59 touchdowns and ran for over 1,400 yards with 17 touchdowns. The Lancers finished the season as the Shore Conference’s No. 1 scoring offense at 43 points per game.
“He is one of those special kids, and that’s exactly he’s going to a special place at Boston College,” said Lancers head coach Derek Sininsky. “He has the whole package. He can throw, he can run and he is a leader. We’re on the practice field and if he’s not in at quarterback or safety with the first team, he’s playing on the scout team. You just couldn’t get the kid off the field. He would run plays at wide receiver and cornerback. He can play anywhere. He’s a superb athlete all around.”
At the helm of then-head coach Mark Ciccotelli’s offense in 2014, Brown burst onto the scene to lead the Lancers to the Non-Public Group III semifinals with over 3,000 yards of total offense. St. John Vianney had huge expectations coming into the season, but uncertainly surrounded the program when Ciccotelli abruptly left the team in August. Sininsky was hired shortly after, but the Lancers were a team in turmoil right up until the season-opening game against rival Matawan.
“From the beginning to the end of the season, what stood out was how much he matured,” Sininsky said. “You have to look at what was happening here. He showed the leadership skills that he has. We saw him go from a high school quarterback to a mature college quarterback that Boston College is getting next month.”
“We had a lot of emotions flying around at the time, and we were all a little selfish,” Brown said. “We needed to come together as a team, and we did. That’s what got us (to the state final).
Brown had several standout games this season, including throwing for 298 yards and five touchdowns and running for 116 yards in a 56-26 win over eventual Central Jersey Group II champion Raritan. He threw a 75-yard touchdown pass through a driving rainstorm to Marcque Ellington in a 13-6 win over eventual Central Jersey Group III champion Rumson-Fair Haven, and had 234 total yards and four touchdowns in a 49-6 win over Red Bank Catholic that put the Lancers into their first state final since 1982.
Even in the Lancers’ only loss of the season, a 40-17 setback to three-time champion DePaul in the Non-Public Group III final, Brown was on point. He threw for 234 yards and a touchdown and ran for another against a defense that featured multiple FBS recruits.
“I’ve never even faced a player like that before,” said Sininsky, a defensive mind who’s coaching career has included head-coaching stints at Raritan and Marlboro, and as an assistant at Colts Neck. “By far he is somebody that is on a platform I’ve never seen before.”
Brown will graduated with his senior class at St. John Vianney in the summer, but will conclude his high school classes in December and leave for Boston College in early January. He hopes to compete for the starting quarterback job as a freshman.
“It’s another chapter in the book of my life,” Brown said. “And I’m going to try to make it the best one yet.”