Football – No. 2 Toms River North’s Offense Unstoppable in Huge Win over No. 5 Brick
TOMS RIVER — For opposing defenses, the Toms River North offense is the boogeyman. When the Mariners get rolling they are downright terrifying, and you don’t know where they will strike next.
The Mariners, ranked No. 2 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, put together an offensive masterpiece on Saturday night at Gernard Field, rolling up 472 yards of offense and finding the end zone nine times in a 62-34 Shore Conference Class A South win over No. 5 Brick. It is the most points Toms River North has scored in a game since dropping 67 on Marlboro in 2006.
Senior quarterback Mike Husni ran for 204 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 95 yards and a score, while senior running back Parker Day rushed for 142 yards and four touchdowns to power a 377-yard ground attack. Junior Daryn Blackwell added a rushing touchdown and senior wide receiver Darrion Carrington caught a touchdown pass and returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown. Senior wide out and Rutgers recruit Bryce Watts had 85 yards from scrimmage, including a 65-yard catch-and-run to set up a score.
“We were just waiting to start firing on all cylinders,” Husni said. “As soon as we get rolling there’s no stopping us. We can get you with the run, in the air, we have some trick plays; the open man is going to get the ball and all of our offensive players can score. And our O-line versus any defensive line, I’m taking them any day of the week.”
“What we do is find out what you’re trying to take away and then we’ll go where you’re not, it’s that simple,” said Toms River North head coach Dave Oizerowitz. “We think every guy can make a play for us.”
Brick senior quarterback Anthony Costanza threw for 208 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a score as the Dragons refused to go quietly. Senior Ja’Sir Taylor, a Temple recruit, had a pair of rushing touchdowns, while senior John Prato caught six passes for 124 yards and a score. Sophomore Cole Groschel had 105 yards from scrimmage, including a 36-yard touchdown run.
Trying to keep up with Toms River North’s offense is a near-impossible challenge, however. Brick had 326 total yards and found the end zone five times, but the Mariners still won by four touchdowns.
Brick opened the game with a 10-play, 71-yard scoring drive to strike first. Taylor had a 23-yard run that moved the ball to the Toms River North 22, and on fourth down ran for an incredible 14-yard touchdown where he somehow escaped a tackle five yards behind the line of scrimmage before zipping to the outside and outrunning the defense.
Toms River North moved to Brick’s 24-yard line on the ensuing drive with the help of a pair of 15-yard penalties, but turned the ball over on downs. Brick nearly went up 14-0 on the next drive, but an option pass on a jet sweep to a wide open Taylor was off the mark. Then, the Dragons tried a fake punt on fourth-and-12 from their own 34, but Taylor was stopped short of the first down. The Mariners needed just four plays to capitalize on the short field as Husni ran for 12 yards, then 20 and then three to put the ball at the 7-yard line where Day scored to tie the score 7-7.
Toms River North forced Brick three-and-out on the next drive after Blackwell and senior linebacker Pete LaQuaglia combined to sack Costanza on third own. Brick punted the ball away this time, and Carrington made the Dragons pay with a brilliant 65-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 14-7 Toms River North lead.
“Darrion Carrington’s punt return swung the momentum for the whole game,” Husni said. “After he scored we knew we had to pick it up offensively, get the open man the ball and make plays.”
“Darrion has always been a really good player for us, but this year he’s been spectacular,” Oizerowitz said. “I don’t think there’s a better wide out in the state of New Jersey. He’s a bonafide, no-doubt-about-it FBS kid.”
Later in the second quarter, Brick’s Rob Spinello blocked a punt that set the Dragons up first-and-goal from the 10-yard line. On fourth-and goal from the 1-yard line, Costanza muscled his way across the goal line to pull Brick to within 14-13 after the extra point was no good.
Toms River North’s offense had hit its stride, however, leaving Brick no room for error. Carrington returned the following kickoff to midfield, and four plays later Husni ripped off a 38-yard run down to the 2-yard line. After a penalty pushed them back five yards, Husni found the end zone on a four-yard run to put Toms River North up 21-13 at halftime.
“Early on we had an idea Brick was going to do something different (on defense), similar to what they did against Jackson, but not exactly,” Oizerowitz said. “Our line was a little confused so they weren’t firing out like they were later in the game, but once we settled in and identified what it was we started teeing off a little.”
The offense continued to pick up steam when it started the third quarter with a four-play, 68-yard scoring drive for a 28-13 lead. Husni ran for 54 yards on the first play down to the Brick 16-yard line, then Day rumbled for 15 yards down to the 3-yard line. Husni polished off the quick scoring sprint with a three-yard touchdown run.
“We’ve been talking about this since last year, starting the third quarter with a championship drive,” Oizerowitz said. “We get the ball and we’re going to score, whether it’s three downs to get 10 or four downs. We’re not punting, it doesn’t matter what down and distance it is, we’re getting it. We’re going to put the ball in the end zone and that’s what we did. I thought that first drive of the second half set the tone.”
Brick kept coming, however, and put together a 12-play, 66-yard drive to cut the deficit to 28-20. Costanza connected with Prato for 30 yards and a first down at the Mariners’ 41-yard line, and a pass interference penalty later in the drive moved the ball to the 32-yard line. On fourth-and-13, Costanza made a great throw to Groschel, who hauled in the pass while keeping a foot in bounds for a 31-yard gain. On the next play Taylor scored on a two-yard run.
The Mariners’ answer was a six-play, 45-yard scoring drive to extend the lead to 35-20. Day and Husni alternated runs with an eight-yard jet sweep by Watts mixed in until Day found the end zone on a two-yard run. Toms River North forced a three-and-out on the next drive, and that allowed the offense to extend its cushion with another four-play scoring drive. Husni had a 52-yard run on the first play and Blackwell scored from eight yards out on his first carry of the season for a 42-20 lead.
Early in the fourth quarter, Husni hit Watts on a short pass and the senior speedster did the rest on a 62-yard reception down to the Brick 7-yard line. After a holding penalty, Husni connected with Carrington in the back right corner of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown and a commanding 48-20 lead.
Brick came right back with a three-play drive as Costanza hit Prato for 30 yards and again on a 42-yard touchdown to make it 48-27. The Mariners pushed the lead to 55-27 on a 1-yard run by Day. After Groschel’s 36-yard touchdown run, Day got the points right back with three carries for 65 yards and an 18-yard touchdown, his fourth of the game, to make it 62-34.
“We’re not too happy about the amount of points we allowed, but tip your cap to Brick and their quarterback,” Oizerowitz said. “He made some outstanding throws tonight. We kind of dared him to do it and dared him to throw to someone other than Taylor. We basically took Ja’Sir away by alignment putting Bryce on him. They went to the kid Prato and he made some outstanding plays, but the quarterback put the ball on the money. We hadn’t seen that from him. We saw every preseason game and eery film and we didn’t think he could do that, so tip your cap to him.”
Toms River North is now averaging 47.7 points per game in wins over Southern, Brick Memorial and Brick, its juggernaut offense living up to the hype bestowed upon it in the preseason.
“We have guys that like to go, and for a lack of a better term, are ballers,” Oizerowitz said. “They don’t get nervous. We as coaches get nervous but they’re like, ‘we got this coach, don’t worry’. They know they can beat the guy across from them and there’s something to be said about that kind of confidence. It’s not arrogance or overconfidence, they’re just confident in their physical ability. It’s just a matter of execution.”
When the Mariners execute they are capable of performances like the one they put forth Saturday night. It’s poetry in motion, unless you’re trying to stop it. In that case, it’s a nightmare.
No. 2 Toms River North 62, No. 5 Brick 34
Toms River North
Brick (2-1, 2-1) 7 6 7 14 — 34
Toms River North (3-0, 3-0) 0 21 21 20 — 62
B — Ja’Sir Taylor 14-yard run (John Bruno kick)
TRN — Parker Day 7-yard run (Kyle Bayha kick)
TRN — Darrion Carrington 65-yard punt return (Kyle Bayha kick)
B — Anthony Costanza 1-yard run (kick failed)
TRN — Mike Husni 4-yard run (Kyle Bayha kick)
TRN — Mike Husni 3-yard run (Kyle Bayha kick)
B — Ja’Sir Taylor 2-yard run (John Bruno kick)
TRN — Parker Day 2-yard run (Kyle Bayha kick)
TRN — Daryn Blackwell 8-yard run (Kyle Bayha kick)
TRN — Mike Husni 17-yard pass to Darrion Carrington (kick failed)
B — Anthony Costanza 42-yard pass to John Prato (John Bruno kick)
TRN — Parker Day 7-yard run (Kyle Bayha kick)
B — Cole Groschel 36-yard run (John Bruno kick)
TRN - Parker Day 18-yard run (Kyle Bayha kick)
Rushing — B: Cole Groschel 2-56, Ja’Sir Taylor 12-46, Anthony Costanza 19-23, Rashon McCall 1-1, John Prato 1-(-4), Team 1-(-3); TRN: Mike Husni 14-204, Parker Day 15-142, Bryce Watts 2-23, Daryn Blackwell 1-8.
Passing — B: Anthony Costanza 14-24-0 208, John Prato 0-1-0 0, Ja’Sir Taylor 0-1-0 0; TRN: Mike Husni 4-10-0 95.
Receiving — B: John Prato 6-124, Cole Groschel 4-49, Joey Carchio 2-21, Ja’Sir Taylor 1-11, Rashon McCall 1-3; TRN: Bryce Watts 1-62, Darrion Carrington 2-25, Kenney Cook 1-7.
Football editor Bob Badders can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.