Week 7 Jersey Mike’s Shore Conference Football Team of the Week: Brick Memorial
Every week this fall, Jersey Mike’s and Shore Sports Network will team up to select a Shore Conference Football Team of the Week based on its performance over the past weekend.
The Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week for Week 7 is Brick Memorial, which rolled to its seventh double-digit victory of the season with a 32-13 win over Lacey to improve to 8-0 for the first time in program history. Shore Sports Network stopped by practice on Tuesday to present the Mustangs and head coach Walt Currie with a special game ball and a $500 Jersey Mike's gift card.
Senior quarterback Connor Dietz ran for 176 yards and two touchdowns and junior running back Kevin Andrews ran for 137 yards and a touchdown to lead a 337-yard, five-touchdown effort paved by an offensive line that has put together a strong season. Senior Jasaan Whittaker and sophomore Ny'Zier Whittaker added touchdown runs and Andrews also had two receptions for 46 yards.
On defense, junior defensive lineman Jaxon Figueroa recorded a career-high three sacks and junior linebacker AJ Ehrmantraut posted 10 solo tackles among his team-leading 11 stops. Senior defensive back Johnny Poukish intercepted a pass and Dietz had nine tackles with two tackles for loss. Jasaan Whittaker added 10 tackles and sophomore linebacker Trey Tallmadge had nine tackles with one tackle for loss.
Brick Memorial leads the Shore Conference with 316 points scored and its 39.5 points per game average is tied with Point Boro as the highest in the Shore. Dietz, a returning First Team All-Shore selection who holds nearly every Brick Memorial rushing and passing record, has enjoyed another outstanding season with 1,255 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns on an average of 9.4 yards per carry plus 924 yards passing and seven touchdowns. Andrews gives the Mustangs a great one-two punch in the backfield and has rushed for 614 yards and eight touchdowns on an average of 8.4 yards per carry. Jasaan Whittaker is the team's leading receiver with 23 receptions for 322 yards and three touchdowns while sophomore Nyzier Mathews has 11 catches for 226 yards and Poukish has 11 catches for 157 yards and two scores.
A major reason for Brick Memorial's turnaround from a 6-5 record last year to this season's historic 8-0 start has been its defense. The Mustangs averaged 30 points per game last season to finish in the top 10 in scoring average, but its defense allowed 27.5 points per game to finish in the bottom third in points allowed per game. Brick Memorial has trimmed that all the way down to 16.6 points per game this fall and has held five of eight opponents under 20 points with one shutout. Tallmadge leads the team with 62 tackles along with two sacks, seven tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, and one interception, while Dietz has 52 tackles, two sacks, six tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and one interception. Figueroa leads the team with five sacks, senior linebacker Nico Maribo has 44 tackles and an interception, Matthews has two interceptions, and senior Edwin Vargas has 41 tackles (34 solo).
It has been an unprecedented season thus far for Brick Memorial but the team's biggest games are still in front of them. A season-defining stretch begins this week with a massive home game versus crosstown rival Brick where the Mustangs can clinch the outright Independence Division. Brick Memorial is unbeaten while the Dragons have lost four in a row to wipe out their 4-0 start, but it's still the most dangerous game on the Mustangs' regular-season schedule. Brick has owned the all-time series, including wins in nine of the last 10 matchups. Brick is out for more than just bragging rights, as well, as the Dragons currently sit 19th in the South Group 3 United Power Rankings and need a victory to have a shot at being in the top 16 to qualify for the playoffs.
A victory for Brick Memorial could give the Mustangs a No. 1 seed in one of the South Group 4 playoff sections. The Mustangs are currently third in UPR in South 4 behind Mainland (8-0) and Millville (6-1).