Green Monster: Brick wins seventh straight over rival Brick Memorial
BRICK TOWNSHIP – The names have changed but one of the major goals for each Brick Township senior class over the last seven years has remained constant: don’t be the team that loses to Brick Memorial.
The members of the 2020 class can say they did their part.
Senior quarterback Anthony Prato accounted for three touchdowns, senior running back Joe Armooh ran for 145 yards and senior defensive end John Costanza recorded a pair of sacks as the Dragons defeated Brick Memorial, 21-14, to win their seventh straight game in the rivalry series.
“It’s awesome. Coming off a hard loss (to No. 1 Mater Dei Prep) we came out ready to play,” Costanza said. “We said we need this win and we’re not losing on our home field.”
“Even though Brick Memorial isn’t in our (division) it’s a huge win under our belt,” Prato said. “It feels great to make it seven in a row.”
Brick (1-1) jumped on its crosstown rival with scores on each of its first two drives and then stretched its least to 21-0 through three quarters. Brick Memorial scored on the first play of the fourth quarter and again with under a minute to play, but Brick was able to recover the onside kick and take a knee to clinch the win and avoid an 0-2 start.
Prato had touchdown runs of 12 and two yards and also threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Evan Travisano. Armooh rumbled for 98 of his 145 yards in the second half. Costanza also had one tackle for loss to go along with his two sacks while Tyler Weisneck and Riley Bell had fumble recoveries, junior linebacker Declan DeCoursey recorded one sack and sophomore Darian Newcomb blocked a punt.
Brick Memorial senior quarterback Anthony Albanese completed 13 of 24 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Mekhi Irving caught six passes for 139 yards and touchdowns of 32 and 55 yards. Junior wide receiver Ahki Barksdale added six receptions for 71 yards. Senior linebacker Sean Beck had a sack on defense.
The Dragons wasted no time getting on the board and firing up the home crowd at Keller Memorial Field. Weisneck returned the opening kickoff to midfield and four plays later, Brick was in the end zone. After a short gain by Prato, Armooh ran for 14 yards and was followed by a 22-yard run by senior C.J. Lavarin. On first down from the 12-yard line, Prato scored on a keeper and Hao Tang’s extra point made it 7-0.
“That was huge,” Prato said. “It set the tone that we’re not here to be messed with, not on our home field.
A sack by Costanza helped thwart Brick Memorial’s first drive, but a booming punt by T.J. McArthur pinned the Dragons back at their own 9-yard line. It took Brick just eight plays to march 91 yards and increase its lead to 13-0, however. A 26-yard run by Armooh moved the ball out to the 40-yard line and a 12-yard run by Prato on third-and-5 put the ball at the Brick Memorial 43-yard line. Three plays later, Prato hit Travisano on a quick slant and the wideout did the rest on a 40-yard score.
It looked like Brick would extend its lead to three scores late in the first half when Brick Memorial fumbled an option pitch and Bell recovered at the Mustangs’ 5-yard line. Brick Memorial stopped Brick on first and second down before Beck sacked Prato for an eight-yard loss to bring up fourth-and-goal from the 13-yard line. Tang’s field goal attempt was then blocked, keeping the score 13-0 at halftime.
Brick pushed its lead to 21-0 in the latter stages of the third quarter by driving 59 yards in seven plays. After a 12-yard catch by Weisneck moved the ball to the Brick Memorial 36-yard line, Armooh broke off a 27-yard run down to the 9-yard line. On second down, Prato scored on a 2-yard keeper to make it 19-0 and Weisneck ran in the 2-point conversion for a 21-0 advantage.
Brick Memorial finally got on the board with a six-play, 72-yard drive. A pass interference penalty moved the ball to midfield and a 14-yard reception by Irving put the Mustangs at the 35-yard line. Three plays later, Irving ran a hitch-and-go and Albanese found him for a 32-yard touchdown. Ryan McCombs’ extra point was good, cutting the deficit to 21-7.
Brick Memorial caught a break when, on the next series, Brick’s fourth-and-11 pass to the end zone was dropped. The would-be touchdown was instead a turnover on downs, giving Brick Memorial the ball at its own 31-yard line. A 27-yard catch by Barksdale on first down moved the ball into Brick territory and a 16-yard catch by Irving put the ball at the 20-yard line. The drive stalled there, however, thanks to a tackle for loss by Ian Gellner on second down and a clutch sack by Costanza on fourth down.
Brick Memorial would get the ball back with 1:16 on the clock but needed to scores to tie the game. The Mustangs would find the end zone with 35 seconds left when Albanese scrambled and found Irving for a 55-yard touchdown, but the ensuing onside kick was recovered by Prato. The Dragons took a knee and walked off the field with town bragging rights firmly intact.
Brick 21, Brick Memorial 14
|Brick Memorial (0-2)||0||0||0||14||14|
B – Anthony Prato 12-yard run (Hao Tang kick)
B – Evan Travisano 40-yard pass from Anthony Prato (run failed)
B – Anthony Prato 2-yard run (Tyler Weisneck run)
BM – Mekhi Irving 32-yard pass from Anthony Albanese (Ryan McCombs kick)
BM – Mekhi Irving 55-yard pass from Anthony Albanese (Ryan McCombs kick)
RUSHING – BM: Akhi Barksdale 3-20, Anthony Albanese 18-13, T.J. McArthur 8-11; B: Joe Armooh 19-145, Anthony Prato 12-45, C.J. Lavarin 2-22, Val Grigorian 3-18, Tyler Weisneck 1-0, Connor Valiant 2-0.
PASSING – BM: Anthony Albanese 13-24-0 213; B: Anthony Prato 4-12-0 62.
RECEIVING – BM: Mekhi Irving 6-139, Akhi Barksdale 6-71, Ryan McCombs 1-3; B: Evan Travisano 1-40, Tyler Weisneck 1-12, C.J. Lavarin 1-6, Val Grigorian 1-4.
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