Brick vs. Long Branch: The Battle of the Shore
It has not been a very good year for Ocean County High School football as of the 18 county schools only Brick and Brick Memorial won a playoff game.
That does not mean there weren’t some great moments and signature wins for those who call Ocean County home because clearly there were. Toms River North stunned the shore with a season-opening victory at Manalapan and went on to win six games after winning just one in 2017.
Jackson Memorial clinched the Constitution Division title one week and the next lost to crosstown rival Jackson Liberty for the first time ever. Barnegat got off to a 6-1 start before fading a bit, Donovan Catholic christened a turf field and won six games for the first time since 2012 and Southern Regional coach Chuck Donohue Sr. reached a milestone with his 250th career victory.
However right now it’s all about Brick which has a football tradition as good as any other. Much of that is due to legendary coach Warren Wolf but it’s continued under two of his former players: Rob Dahl who coached from 2011-2014 and Len Zdanowicz who is now in his fourth season as head coach of the green and white.
Tonight they’ll travel to Bresett Stadium to face defending champion Long Branch for the Central Jersey Group 4 championship. It’s the 13th appearance for the Green Dragons in a sectional final since the playoffs started in 1974 and they’ve won 7 of them with the last coming in 2013.
Clearly Brick is the underdog in this one although they are 8-2, have won 5 in-a-row and are finally healthy after battling a rash of injuries earlier in the season. Long Branch under Hall of Fame coach Dan George has only lost to top-ranked Red Bank Catholic this season and has won their 9 games by an average margin of 30 points.
The Green Wave feature a dynamic running back in junior Jermaine Corbett who scored five touchdowns in a semifinal win over Brick Memorial last weekend. Of course Brick’s Jimmy Leblo is also coming off a five touchdown performance in a surprising rout of Middletown South a week ago.
Tonight’s game kicks off at 7 p.m. can be heard on 92.7 WOBM with live streaming at shoresportsnetwork.com.