By Art Gordon - Shore Sports Network contributor

BRICK — In Friday night’s crucial Shore Conference Class A South contest, Toms River South wanted to use its athleticism and find a way to stop Brick Memorial’s powerful running attack. The Indians (5-2 3-2) played a near-perfect first half and held on in their 29-14 victory at Brick Memorial (5-3 3-3).

South jumped out to a 29-0 halftime lead using their athleticism on offense and their newly-found toughness.

“We are pretty athletic but we were unsure whether we could deal with their physicality,” said Toms River South head coach Ron Signorino Jr. “We did not know if we could play with the tough and more physical teams. I think we passed the test because that is a very physical team (Brick Memorial).”

With the victory the Indians remain a game behind Brick and Jackson Memorial in the crowded A South standings. The win also kept the Indians hopes alive for a few home games in the up-coming state playoffs. Coming into tonight’s game the Indians sat at No. 2 in South Jersey Group IV.

Toms River South junior quarterback Tymere Berry ran and threw for a touchdown in a 29-14 victory over Brick Memorial. (File photo by Cliff Lavelle).

“We are looking to win the division and get a home game in the playoffs, and we knew the only way to do this was by being physical,” said junior quarterback Tymere Berry. “We knew it would be a dogfight.”

The Indians were led by Berry (16-132) and senior running back Otis Kearney Jr., (17-100) as the visitors rushed for 291 yards on 46 carries.

The Indians wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as they marched 67 yards in 13 plays with junior Khalee Greene taking an option pitch from 10-yards out. After Russell Messler’s first of three extra points South led 7-0 midway through the first quarter.

The Mustangs fumbled on their first play and South needed only one play to move to a 14-0 lead as Kearney went 25 yards for the score.

South took advantage of another Mustang fumble and used the short field to go 45 yards in four plays. Berry used a great play-action fake and found senior wide receiver Darius Hart alone in the end zone from 24-yards out. Russell Messler took a high snap on the extra point in for a two point conversion, making the score 22-0.

Meanwhile, the defense was playing lights out. They held the powerful rushing attack of Brick Memorial to two first downs and 57 yards of total offense in the first half.

“We knew we had to be physical to stop their running game,” Kearney said. “Our safeties moved to corner tonight because we knew they liked to bounce it outside.”

“We wanted to stop the seal so the coaches moved Otis and myself outside to do that,” Hart added.

South closed out its scoring with just over two minutes left in the first half when Berry kept the ball and looked to be stopped for a short gain only to emerge from the pile and sprint 45 yards for a touchdown on a fourth-and-inches.

The Mustangs were a different team after halftime and their offense started to move the ball.

The Mustangs took their second possession of the second half and marched 82 yards in 11 plays with junior Connor Owen diving in from five yards out to cut the lead to 29-6. On their next possession, the Mustangs continued to move the ball going 63 yards in seven plays with senior quarterback Rob Triano going 37 yards for the score. After a Triano pass to Mike Basile for the two-point conversion the lead was now 29-14 with eight minutes left in the game.

The South defense held on Memorial’s last two possessions to hold on for the 29-14 victory.

“(Brick Memorial) Coach (Walt) Currie knows what he is doing with that offense and we took our foot off the pedal a little bit in the second half,” Signorino said. “We can’t do that. We must pass the full test, not just the first half.”

Box Score

Toms River South 29, Brick Memorial 14

TRS                                     BM
FIRST DOWNS 14                9
RUSHING 46-291            44-226
PASSING 5-10-1 75         1-5-1 0
PENALTIES 2-10                3-15
PUNTS 3-36                      5-36
FUMBLES 3-0                   4-2

TEAMS 1 2 3 4 FINAL
TRS 14 15 0 0 29
BM 0 0 6 8 14

Scoring Summary
TRS: KHALEEL GREENE 10-YARD RUN (RUSSELL MESSLER KICK) TRS: OTIS KEARNEY JR. 25-YARD RUN (RUSSELL MESSLER KICK) TRS: DARIUS HART 24-YARD PASS FROM TYMERE BERRY (RUSSELL MESSLER KICK)
TRS: TYMERE BERRY 45-YARD RUN (RUSSELL MESSLER RUN)
BM: CONNOR OWEN 5-YARD RUN (KICK FAILED)
BM: ROB TRIANO 37-YARD RUN (MIKE BASILE PASS FROM ROB TRIANO)

INDIVIDUAL STATS
RUSHING: TRS: TYMERE BERRY 16-132, OTIS KEARNEY 17-100, KHALEEL GREENE 7-32, BILLY KOSH 5-24, RUSSELL MESSLER 1-3. BM: ROB TRIANO 16-100, MIKE BASILE 7-9, CONNOR OWEN 19-100, MIKE CATHEY 1-7, JOE HANS 1-10 PASSING: TRS TYMERE BERRY 5-10-1-75. BM ROB TRIANO 1-4-10, MIKE BASILE 0-1. RECEIVING: TRS: JAREN EGAN 1-6, KHALEEL GREENE 1-30, DARIUS HART 3-38 BM: MIKE BASILE 1-0
INTERCEPTIONS: TRS: JADEN KOSH BM: JOE HANS SACKS: TRS: BRANDON KELLY BM: ANTHONY NOBILE