BRICK TOWNSHIP – After missing the first five games of the season with an injury, Joey Carchio is relishing every moment of his abbreviated senior season. He made up for lost time with a sensational performance on Saturday night.

Carchio led a ferocious Brick defense with 4.5 sacks and three tackles for loss while also contributing two rushing touchdowns and a 2-point conversion catch as the third-seeded Dragons beat sixth-seeded Jackson Memorial, 17-3, in the quarterfinals of the Central Jersey Group 4 playoffs at Keller Memorial Field. Brick advances to the semifinals to face second-seeded Middletown South next Friday.

“I was so bummed out, even in the preseason,” Carchio said. “I had to have surgery and miss five games, but since I’ve been back it’s all about what the team does. I’m just trying to do my job and it’s a great feeling coming out and winning against a rival like Jackson.” 

“He’s a football player,” said Brick head coach Len Zdanowicz. “I’ve coached that kid since he was about 10-years old and he was always one of the biggest and fastest kids on the team. He may not be that anymore but he’s one of the toughest. He’s just a football player and we’re glad to have him on our team.”

In addition to taking up residence in Jackson’s backfield, Carchio had touchdown runs of three and 15 yards and finished with 48 yards on 11 carries. Senior Jake Wynkoop added a 39-yard field goal while junior quarterback Anthony Prato ran for 85 yards and senior quarterback Jimmy Leblo ran for 62 yards. Leblo also came down with his conference-leading sixth interception.

Brick’s defense was relentless against Jackson (6-3), allowing only a 22-yard field goal by Justin Burkert late in the third quarter. They sacked Jaguars quarterback John Ghigna five times and limited the Jaguars to just 138 yards of offense, including 40 rushing yards on 36 attempts.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” said Brick senior linebacker Rich Tallmadge, who entered the week as the Shore Conference’s leading tackler. “The last time (a 24-7 win in the regular season) we hit a few deep throws and made it seem like it wasn’t as close as it was. We knew what to expect coming in. I told the guys yesterday: we haven’t had a shutout all season and what would be more legendary than not giving up a touchdown in the playoffs. We held them to only three points.”

“It was a good effort all around,” Zdanowicz said. “We looked at all the tapes we have on them and even some old tapes just seeing if there was anything else they could throw at us. The kids picked up everything well so it wasn’t a surprise our kids played that well.”

The win also reversed a postseason trend. Brick now owns a 28-11 all-time record against Jackson but had been 0-4 in the playoffs versus the Jaguars prior to Saturday’s victory.

“We heard them in an interview saying if we beat them in the regular season history would repeat and they’d beat us in the playoffs,” Carchio said. “I took that as a threat. We wanted to show no mercy on that field tonight.”

After a scoreless first quarter, Brick struck first on Wynkoop’s 39-yard field goal with 9:53 left I the first half. On Brick’s next possession, Prato ripped off a 47-yard run down to the 3-yard line and Carchio punched it in for a 9-0 lead. The extra point was blocked, but the way Brick’s defense was playing the two-score lead seemed insurmountable.

Jackson finally put together a sustained offensive drive by going 61 yards over 11 plays, getting on the board on Burkert’s field goal. A 25-yard catch by Nick Tolmachewich on third-and-12 helped set up the Jaguars’ first and only points of the game.

Brick fumbled on its ensuing possession but the defense once again shut the door to force a punt. The Dragons got the ball back at their own 26-yard line and drove 74 yards for a score to put the game away. Leblo had a 20-yard run on third down to put the ball across midfield and was 4-4 on third downs on the drive, including Carchio’s 15-yard score up the middle with 2:14 left to play.

Now the Dragons will turn their attention to Middletown South in a matchup of two of the Shore Conference’s historic programs. The Eagles have won 10 sectional titles and made 21 finals appearances and the Dragons have seven sectional titles and 12 finals appearances.

“Midd. South is a very good team and it’s going to be a big game,” Tallmadge said. “They just beat Rumson and did what we couldn’t do, so we have to come out ready to go.”


Box Score

 Jackson MemorialBrick
First downs109
Passing yards989


Jackson Memorial (6-300303
Brick (7-2)090817


Scoring summary

B – Jake Wynkoop 39-yard field goal

B – Joey Carchio 3-yard run (kick blocked)

JM – Justin Burkert 22-yard field goal

B – Joey Carchio 15-yard run (Jimmy Leblo pass to Joey Carchio)


Individual statistics

RUSHING – JM: Leo Shimonovich 7-28, Jake McKown 1-9, Will Towns 4-8, John Ghigna 21-5, Christian Pellone 2-(-6), Team 1-(-4); B: Anthony Prato 7-85, Jimmy Leblo 11-63, Joey Carchio 11-48, Val Grigorian 2-15, Jake Wynkoop 1-1.

PASSING – JM: John Ghigna 9-18-1 98; B: Anthony Prato 2-4-0 9, Jimmy Leblo 0-1-0 0.

RECEIVING – JM: Nick Tolmachewich 5-53, Joe Maffei 2-30, Stephen Vigliarolo 1-14, Leo Shimonovich 1-1; B: Val Grigorian 1-9, Rich Tallmadge 1-0.

INTERCEPTIONS – B: Jimmy Leblo 1-0.


Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.


More From Shore Sports Network