Football – St. John Vianney Dominates Brick to Extend Shore Win Streak to 33
HOLMDEL - Even as a team entering Friday night on a 32-game winning streak against Shore Conference competition, the St. John Vianney football team played like it had something to prove.
One week after playing a shaky first half against winless Red Bank Regional and one year after a close call against Brick, Friday's opponent, the Lancers played a complete, dominant game in a 42-0 pounding of the Green Dragons that extended its winning streak against Shore Conference opponents to 33.
St. John Vianney racked up 431 yards of offense in a game that featured a running clock for the entire second half while also holding Brick to 109 yards of offense - 79 of which came on one late-third-quarter run by junior tailback Jake Wynkoop.
"Our offensive line was amazing," senior tailback and linebacker Johnny Buchanan said. "They are all (Division I) caliber guys and they played like it today. Our defense played - I wouldn't say our best game - but it was solid today and came up with the plays when we needed to."
Even after Brick got the ball inside the Lancers one yard-line on second down, the Vianney defense stuffed back-to-back running attempts and sacked backup quarterback Anthony Prato on fourth down to complete the goal-line stand.
That defensive stand was the final salvo in St. John Vianney's decomposition of a Brick team that took the Lancers to overtime last year on a rain-soaked Warren Wolf Field. Combine last year's game with last week's surprising first half - in which Red Bank played St. John Vianney to a 7-7 tie before the Lancers pulled away for a 31-7 win - and Vianney coach Derek Sininsky and his staff had his team's total attention this week.
"After last year against them, as close as it was, playing in that mud, then having a rough time last week - we really just had to focus and get the offense firing on all cylinders again," Buchanan said. "We had a week of good, crisp practice and we just decided to be what we know we can be, and I think it showed tonight."
"We had some difficulty (last week), which was okay," senior fullback and linebacker Josiah Walker said. "Some teams have to go through adversity. We came together as a team, we talked about it as a group and we really bonded over little things."
Walker and Buchanan combined for 220 yards on the ground on just 23 carries between them, with Walker running for 125 yards on 12 carries and Buchanan collecting 95 on 11 attempts. Both senior running backs ran for two touchdowns apiece.
Senior Zyaire Sterling also added 62 yards on eight carries and a touchdown for St. John Vianney, which rolled for 361 yards on 42 rushing attempts.
Before St. John Vianney got its running game in full gear, senior quarterback Haaziq Daniels jump-started his team with a pair of key completions on the opening drive. On 3rd-and-8 from the Lancers' own 42, Daniels hit junior receiver Nick DeGennaro along the right sideline for a 47-yard gain. DeGennaro was engaged in tight one-on-one coverage, but outjumped the Brick defender for the pass and the first-down conversion.
Two plays later, Daniels fired a pass out to senior Sam East in the flat, and the senior cut it inside for a seven-yard touchdown completion that opened the scoring.
"That's where we need to go more," Sininsky said. "We need to go vertical a little more than we do. We do have it with Nick, Sam, Zyaire and A.J. (McGimpsey)."
After the first of six three-and-outs by Brick in the first half, Walker carried the ball on the first play of the ensuing drive and broke off a 60-yard touchdown run to make the score 14-0 following senior Will Foreman's second of six successful extra-point attempts.
Sterling had a 45-yard punt return for a touchdown called back because of a holding penalty, but the Lancers still finished off their third scoring drive in as many attempts to start the game. Daniels found senior A.J. McGimpsey for a 16-yard completion down to the Dragons 14 on 2nd-and-16 and the Lancers capped the drive on a six-yard touchdown burst by Walker.
Brick stopped St. John Vianney on 4th-and-4 from the Dragons 12 on the next Lancers possession, but Vianney quickly made up for it. After taking over on the Brick 40, SJV scored in just two plays, with Sterling speeding around the left edge for a 36-yard gain and Buchanan finishing off the drive with a four-yard touchdown run.
Vianney capped its dominant offensive half with a 12-play, 93-yard drive that ended with Sterling waltzing into the endzone on a 1-yard carry. The Lancers were 3-for-3 on third down on the drive, including a 21-yard run by Buchanan on 3rd-and-13.
On his team's first drive of the third quarter, Buchanan broke a 50-yard touchdown run and celebrated on the sideline by revealing his verbal commitment to the University of Delaware, which he did by putting on the team cap and holding up the shirt to the crowd. He also ran to the edge of the stands to quickly share the moment with his family before rejoining his team.
"Obviously, I decided before the game and I thought this was the right game to do it since we were playing Brick," said Buchanan, a Brick native. "I wasn't planning on anything in particular, but I think I just got caught in the moment and decided to do it after that run."
The two regular-season meetings with Brick in each of the past two seasons have special meaning to Buchanan, who played in the Brick program as a freshman and lives close to the school.
"I've got nothing but respect for Brick," Buchanan said. "I live a couple blocks from the school, I played there up until the end of my freshman year. My hat's off to them for coming up here and playing hard."
St. John Vianney's defense held the Green Dragons to just two first downs all game and one was the result of a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct on the first drive of the third quarter. Wynkoop's 79-yard run on 3rd-and-2 was the other first down.
The Lancers physically overwhelmed the Green Dragons up front and also knocked Green Dragons starting quarterback Jimmy Leblo out of the game in the second quarter. The junior signal-called took a helmet to the right knee on a six-yard run and had his knee in a large air cast after the game while leaning on crutches.
Friday's impressive all-around performance for the Lancers should calm any concerns stemming from last week's first half against Red Bank. For the coaching staff and the players, there was never a doubt to begin with.
"They did their job, but this was nothing special for us and they (the Vianney players) know it's nothing special," Sininsky said. "We expected to score 40-to-50 points and put up a goose egg today. To our kids, this isn't a big game. We play an improved Holmdel team, then Rumson, then Red Bank Catholic. Those two games are big-time games and our kids know that."
St. John Vianney 42, Brick 0
SJV - Sam East 7-yard pass from Haaziq Daniels (Will Foreman kick)
SJV - Josiah Walker 60-yard run (Will Foreman kick)
SJV - Josiah Walker 6-yard run (Will Foreman kick)
SJV - Johnny Buchanan 4-yard run (Will Foreman kick)
SJV - Zyaire Sterling 1-yard run (Will Foreman kick)
SJV - Johnn Buchanan 50-yard run (Will Foreman kick)
Rushing - B: Jake Wynkoop 7-82, Joe Carchio 14-14, Jimmy Leblo 4-4, Anthony Prato 3-(-11); SJV: Josiah Walker 12-125, Johnny Buchanan 11-95, Zyaire Sterling 8-62, Sam East 3-17, Haaziq Daniels 4-18, Warren Griffith 2-13, Mike Noble 1-26, Anthony Brett 1-5
Passing - B: Anthony Prato 1-4-0 20, Jimmy Leblo 0-2-0 0; SJV: Haaziq Daniels 3-6-0 70
Receiving - B: Colin Geber 1-20; SJV: Nick DeGennaro 1-47, A.J. McGimpsey 1-16, Sam East 1-7