Sclafani, Dominant Defense Help Brick Top Wall
By Art Gordon - Shore Sports Network contributor
BRICK - Brick’s junior quarterback Carmen Sclafani led a balanced first-half attack and an inspired defense held visiting Wall to 101 yards of total offense in the Green Dragons' 25-6 win at the Drum Point Complex in Brick on Saturday.
Sclafani rolled up 137 yards on the ground on 23 carries, doing a great job of reading the defense in Brick's zone read scheme.
“We were well-coached coming in and our offensive line had a great first half,'' Sclafani said. "We executed real well. Our offensive coordinator (Chip LaBarca) and Wall’s defensive coordinator (Dan Curcione) worked with each other last year (at Toms River North), so there were not going to be any surprises, just constant adjustments.”
The defense allowed only one sustained drive in the game and that was to start the second half after both teams made some adjustments.
“We came in wanting to shut down their running game, especially their power game, and I think we did a great job,” said junior defensive tackle Jacob Layton. “We knew that they would come in wanting to shove it down our throats so it was a big challenge for us.”
Brick, ranked No. 9 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, took an early 6-0 lead on its second possession, marching 80 yards in 13 plays in just under seven minutes, capping the drive when Sclafani took it in from four yards out. The big play in the drive was a fourth-and two from the 33-yard line in which Sclafani hit wide receiver Simon Bingelis on a drag pattern off a jet sweep fake for a first down.
“We threw better than I anticipated with the conditions the way they were,'' Brick head coach Rob Dahl said.
“We spread the ball around with our wide receivers with Joe Phillips making some great catches,” Sclafani said.
The Green Dragons (4-1) extended the lead to 12-0 with five minutes left in the first half. After a short Wall punt into a heavy wind traveled only 23 yards, Brick took over on the Crimson Knights' 30-yard line. Sclafani bounced a zone read run outside and carried it down to the 1-yard line, and two plays later, senior running back Mike Muratore ran it in from a yard out. A two point conversion pass failed.
Wall tried to get back into the game when senior Cadell Kennedy returned the ensuing kick 32 yards to the Brick 48-yard line. However, on a first down at the Brick 22-yard line, the snap from center sailed over quarterback Jack Gifford’s head and Brick recovered Wall's 49-yard line.
After personal foul and pass interference penalties on Wall moved the ball to the 16-yard line, Sclafani found junior wide receiver Tom Leech on a flag pattern in the corner of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds left in the half.
Wall cut into the lead to start the second half, taking the opening kickoff of the third quarter and marching 60 yards in 12 plays, with senior tailback Pete Miceli carrying the load and taking the ball in from nine yards out on fourth-and-2 to make it 19-6.
“Wall made a couple blocking adjustments on that drive and then we made a couple after the drive," Dahl said. "It was quite a chess match.
The teams then traded punts and turnovers until the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter when the Green Dragons took over on downs at their 44-yard line. They put the exclamation point on the win by scoring in six plays, with junior running back Ray Fattaruso taking it in from the 2-yard line for a 25-6 lead.
“We played a great first half and then came out flat in the second half, but give Wall some credit for their constant adjustments,'' Dahl said.
Brick 25, Wall 6
TEAMS 1 2 3 4 FINAL
WALL 0 0 6 0 6
BRICK 6 13 0 6 25
BRICK: CARMEN SCLAFANI 4-YARD RUN. KICK BLOCKED BRICK: MIKE MURATORE 1-YARD RUN. PASS FAILED
BRICK: TOM LEECH 16-YARD PASS FROM CARMEN SCLAFANI. STEVE FERLISI KICK
WALL: PETE MICELI 9-YARD RUN. KICK BLOCKED
BRICK: RAY FATTARUSO 2-YARD RUN. KICK FAILED
TEAMS WALL BRICK
FIRST 7 13
RUSHING 25-55 38-179
PASSING 7-19-2-46 11-14-1-79
PENALTIES 9-74 6-55
PUNTS 6-31 4-44
FUMBLES 2-2 4-1
RUSHING: WALL: PETE MICELI 17-53. RICH EKNOIAN 1-1, JACK GIFFORD 4-1, CADELL KENNEDY 3-0. BRICK: CARMEN SCLAFANI 23-137, RAY FATTARUSO 7-21, MIKE MURATORE 5-3, JOE PHILLIPS 3-18
PASSING: WALL: JACK GIFFORD 7-19-2 46 BRICK: CARMEN SCLAFANI 11-14-1 79
RECEIVING: WALL: PETE MICELI 1 (4), CHRIS QUINLAN 1-8, CADELL KENNEDY 4-26, PAUL CALAMARIS 1-16. BRICK: TOM LEECH 1-16, JOE PHILLIPS 3-20, RAY FATTARUSO 4-5, DREW SCOTT 1-8, MIKE MURATORE 1-1, DONALD PARR 1-29
INTERCEPTIONS: WALL: RICH EKNOIAN BRICK: STEVE FERLISI, JOE BRUNO