Dominant defensive effort leads Brick to sixth straight win over Brick Memorial
BRICK TOWNSHIP – Brick defends the triple-option about as well as any team in the Shore Conference, especially against crosstown rival Brick Memorial. It took only one play for the Dragons’ defense to make its presence felt on Saturday, and from there it was more of the same.
Senior linebacker Rich Tallmadge returned a fumble 37 yards for a touchdown on Brick Memorial’s first play from scrimmage to get Brick rolling toward a 30-7 Shore Conference Colonial Division victory on Saturday afternoon at DiFabio Field. The Dragons allowed just 130 yards of offense, scored nine points on defense and turned the Mustangs’ over three times to pick up their sixth straight win in the all-time series. Senior defensive back Mike McGuigan had a pair of interceptions and senior linebacker Dylan DeAlmeida had a safety.
“We’ve been preparing for a while and us seniors, we’ve never lost to them and we didn’t plan on starting today,” Tallmadge said.
“For us seniors the last time playing Memorial – unless we play them in the playoffs, which is unlikely – it feels great coming off the field after a win,” said senior defensive end Cory Englehardt. “It’s the one game we want to make sure we win every year. We never want to lose this game and we’ve been working since the end of last season to do that.”
Senior quarterback Jimmy Leblo led Brick’s offense with 94 yards rushing and a touchdown on 15 carries and also caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from junior Anthony Prato. Senior running back Jake Wynkoop added a 7-yard touchdown run and was a perfect 4-for-4 on extra points.
Brick Memorial quarterback Tyler Sindel ran for a team-high 42 yards on 15 carries and scored the Mustangs’ lone touchdown. Brick Memorial gained just eight first downs and averaged 3.5 yards per attempt.
“We gotta give credit to coach Mac (defensive coordinator Brian McNamara),” Englehardt said. “He gives us a great game plan for them every single year and as long as everybody does their jobs we get it done and hold them to very little yardage.”
“Playing them in the first game always helps, you get more time to prepare whereas when you’re playing them during the season you only get two work days to prepare,” said Brick head coach Len Zdanowicz. “Our defensive staff – coach Mac, coach McDonnell, coach Blackburn – they put together a great defensive game plan every year for them, and when you play a team like that every year you know what you’re doing. It’s something the kids practice every year.”
Brick (1-0, 1-0) opened the game by driving to the Brick Memorial 40-yard line, but the Dragons were stopped on fourth down when Logan Baxter dropped Cole Groschel for a 3-yard loss. Any momentum the Mustangs (1-1, 0-1) hoped to get was wiped away immediately, however, when the option pitch was fumbled and scooped up by Tallmadge, who broke a tackle and raced 37 yards to the end zone to give Brick a 7-0 lead.
“My goal ever since I was a kid has been to strip the ball myself and run for a touchdown, but that was just as good,” Tallmadge said. “It was fun.”
“That was a huge momentum shift to not just get the turnover but to score on defense,” Englehardt said.
Neither team gained a first down on the next six combined possessions but Brick’s defense got on the board again when DeAlmeida sacked Sindel in the end zone for a safety to make it 9-0.
After the safety punt, Leblo broke off a 33-yard run and then scored on a nine-yard run to put the Dragons up 16-0.
Brick Memorial then put together its best drive of the first half to finally get untracked, but McGuigan’s first interception ended the drive at the 20-yard line and sent the game to halftime.
The Mustangs were able to use that brief spark coupled with some halftime adjustments to get into the end zone on the opening drive of the third quarter. Brick Memorial went to the counter option and Sindel carried on runs of 11 and 10 yards to move the ball into Brick territory. A 26-yard run by fullback Ja Billingsley moved the Mustangs to the 11-yard line and Sindel ran the counter option again, picking up a key block from Baxter, for an 11-yard touchdown run.
Brick put together a long drive on the next series but was stopped on fourth down at the Brick Memorial 16-yard line. The Mustangs couldn’t capitalize, however, and were forced to punt when Prato tackled David Baez for a 3-yard loss on third down.
The Dragons came away with great field position following the Brick Memorial punt and went 38 yards in six plays to take a 23-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. Prato had a 12-yard run to convert a third-and-nine and then rolled out and hit Leblo for an 11-yard touchdown.
Following McGuigan’s second interception, Wynkoop scored on a 7-yard run to give Brick a 30-7 lead with 6:33 left in the game.
No. 4 Brick 30, Brick Memorial 7
Brick (1-0, 1-0) 7 9 0 14 – 30
Brick Memorial (0-1, 0-1) 0 0 7 0 – 7
B – Rich Tallmadge 37-yard fumble return (Jake Wynkoop kick)
B – Safety, Dylan DeAlmeida tackles Tyler Sindel in the end zone
B – Jimmy Leblo 9-yard run (Jake Wynkoop kick)
BM – Tyler Sindel 11-yard run (Ryan McCombs kick)
B – Anthony Prato 11-yard pass to Jimmy Leblo (Jake Wynkoop kick)
B – Jake Wynkoop 7-yard run (Jake Wynkoop kick)
RUSHING – B: Jimmy Leblo 15-94, Jake Wynkoop 8-29, Joe Armooh 6-28, Anthony Prato 4-23, Cole Groschel 8-8; BM: Tyler Sindel 15-42, Jeff Lavarin 6-30, Ja Billingsley 8-29, Mekhi Irving 1-16, T.J. McArthur 4-12, C.J. Lavarin 1-4, Anthony Albanese 1-0, David Baez 1-(-3).
PASSING – B: Jimmy Leblo 2-6-0 20, Anthony Prato 1-1-0 11; BM: Tyler Sindel 0-4-2 0.
RECEIVING – B: Val Grigorian 1-12, Jimmy Leblo 1-11, Anthony Prato 1-8.
INTERCEPTION – B: Mike McGuigan 2-0.
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.