By Vin Ebenau - Shore Sports Network Contributor

BRICK TOWNSHIP — Brick Memorial clinched a tie for the Shore Conference Class A South division title on Friday night with a 44-7 win over Southern.

Sophomore fullback Tony Thorpe ran for 76 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries and senior quarterback Tim Santiago ran for a touchdown and threw a touchdown pass to senior Matt Cuppari as the Mustangs (7-2, 6-1) forced a three-way tie for the division title with Toms River North and Brick.

A major theme in the game was the Mustangs keeping their cool and taking advantage of Rams turnovers and penalties. In a sloppy first half, the game was back and forth until late in the first quarter. After both teams punted on their first two possessions, a fumble by Santiago on the first play of the third drive gave the Rams good field position in Mustangs territory. On the sixth play of the drive, the Rams made their only score of the game when Sam Cammarata hit Nick Simonelli on a slant from seven yards out with 1:31 left in the first quarter.

Controlling the tempo through one quarter with a 7-0 lead, the momentum drastically switched sides for good in what was the turning point of the game. On a Brick Memorial punt early in the second quarter, the Rams returners muffed the punt and fumbled the ball at their own 9-yard line. One play later, Thorpe busted up the gut for a touchdown with 10:17 left in the first half to tie the score at seven.

After a Rams three and out, the Mustangs needed just two plays on their next drive before Thorpe found his way through the defense for a 33-yard touchdown with 7:55 left in the first half, giving Brick Memorial a 14-7 lead. On a Southern punt, a gunner for Southern illegally batted the ball out of the end zone, which granted Brick Memorial a safety and a 16-7 lead.

With 7:28 left in the third quarter, Tony Thorpe rushed for his third touchdown of the game to give the Mustangs a 23-7 lead. As their confidence grew immensely, the Mustangs scored twice more in the third with the next one at 1:47 left in the quarter when Matt Cuppari had a 31-yard touchdown reception to make the score 30-7. Santiago took the ball into the end zone as time ran out in the third quarter from 21 yards away, making the score 37-7 heading to the final frame. Senior defensive back Elie Lavarin closed the scoring for the Mustangs by intercepting Cammarata and returning it 65 yards for a touchdown.