Sclafani, Fattaruso help Brick edge Southern
By Chris Melvin - Shore Sports Network contributor
MANAHAWKIN - Last week, Brick showed it could win an offensive shootout. On Friday night, the Green Dragons proved they can grind out a win with tough defense and clutch offense.
The Green Dragons (3-1, 3-0), ranked No. 9 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, went on the road and picked up a 13-7 win in Class A South over Southern (2-2, 1-2). After a 12-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Carmen Sclafani in the fourth quarter snapped a 7-7 tie, junior linebacker Ray Fattaruso iced the win with an interception at Brick’s 15-yard line with 12 seconds left in the game.
Southern opened the scoring by way of a stellar first half from junior wide receiver/defensive back Zac Halliday, who shined on both sides of the ball for the Rams. Halliday caught several passes from senior quarterback Logan Sheehan and intercepted a pass on defense.
With Brick shadowing and double-covering Rams star receiver Mike Gesicki in the first half, Sheehan connected with Halliday for a long gain to set up a 9-yard touchdown catch by Gesicki with 4:27 left in the second quarter for a 7-0 lead. Gesicki caught the ball in stride after cutting through the Dragons’ second line of defense and dove into the end zone.
Brick answered with a drive that proved to be huge when Sclafani hit senior Drew Scott with a six-yard touchdown pass with only 20 seconds left in the first half to tie the game.
Sclafani was effective as a runner alongside senior Mike Muratore and Fattaruso as they produced an effective ground attack for the Dragons. Muratore also displayed soft hands out of the backfield as a receiver and was instrumental in the secondary limiting the Division I-bound Gesicki.
The Green Dragons mounted the decisive fourth-quarter drive following key receptions by Muratore and junior Ja’quez Johnson and runs by Fattaruso. Sclafani capped the drive by darting, spinning and powering into the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown make the it 13-7 before a missed extra point.
Southern seemed to be headed in for a game-winning drive in the final minutes after two big catches by senior Ryan Jensen, but it was Fattaruso who came up with some heroics for the second straight week with his game-clinching interception. Last week, Fattaruso rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns, threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Muratore, and had 14 tackles, 3 sacks and 5 tackles for a loss as the Dragons handed Toms River South a 47-21 defeat.