BRICK DRAGONS 2015 SEASON PREVIEW
This has been quite a busy offseason for Brick Twp high school following the 2014 season. We have certainly seen a lot of changes within the program. The offseason started with the resignation of Head Coach Rob Dahl. Dahl was 27-16 at the helm, leading the Dragons to the 2013 Central Jersey Group IV Championship. Dahl helped restore pride to a program that had lost its way after the 2008 departure of Hall of Fame Head Coach Warren Wolf. Wolf started the Dragons tradition and ruled the sidelines for 51 years. The Dragons also graduated one of the best senior classes in School history, losing players like Carmen Sclafani, Ray Fatturoso, Jaquez Johnson, Simon Bingelis, James Juliano, Tommy Leech, and Chris Kimbiz. The Dragons will look to find new leaders to fill these roles in 2015.
Len Zdanowicz is the man who will step up in Rob Dahl’s place to lead the program in 2015. Zdanowicz is a 1993 graduate of Brick High School who played under Warren Wolf. Zdanowicz spent fifteen years as an assistant to Wolf, learning under his wing. After Wolf’s departure, he moved on to Jackson Liberty to coach under Tim Osborn. Zdanowicz’s most recent stop was an assistant at Lakewood High School. Len brings a lot of coaching experience and strong leadership skills to the program. Zdonawicz is a strong motivator that knows how to get the most out his players. This is a leader who understands the tradition, culture, and community. A person has to live in Brick to understand the importance of football within this community. It is always great to see so many former players attending Brick home games. Zdanowicz is one who will take that to heart and keep this proud tradition alive!!
Head Coach: Len Zdanowicz ( First Year )
2014 Record : 9-2 (Class A South Champions)
Key Returns: Jasir Taylor (JR WR/DB) Tom Zbranak (SR QB) Joe Sclafani (SR FB/LB) Dan Finelli (SR TE/DE) Alex Trapasso (SR C) Tyler Colonno (SR G/DT) Jay Obenauer (JR RB/LB) Shaun Smith (SR WR/DB) Octavian Battle (SR DB)
Key Losses: Carmen Sclafani (QB) Ray Faturroso (RB/LB) Jacquez Johnson (WR/DB) Simon Bingelis (TE/DE) James Juliano (ILB) Chris Kimbiz (NT) Tommy Leech (FS) Joe Phillips (WR/DB)
Key Newcomer: Javion Harris (SR WR/DB)
It will be a tough task for the Dragons to replace a QB like Carmen Sclafani. Sclafani was a three year starter who could hurt you with his arm and legs. The QB finished his senior year passing for 1399 yards, and leading the team in rushing with 1427. Carmen will go down as one of the best players in school history. At the same time, Sclafani hardly ever left the field which led to the backups not getting much action.
Senior Tom Zbranak will get the opportunity to lead this offense in 2015. Zbranak has good pocket awareness, and athletic ability. He has a great arm and can hit receivers in stride. Zbranak can read opposing defenses and identifying mismatches when needed. This will be Zbranak’s team on the offensive end. He wlll have plenty of backs and receivers who will put a lot of points on the board. This is a very good situation for Zbranak going into the season. Zbranak will also be pushed by Junior QB John Prato. Prato is a good QB with a strong knowledge of the offense. He knows he will always be one snap away from seeing action.
Jay Obenauer will be the man to step up at running back this season for the Dragons. Obenauer played a limited role in 2014, backing up star Ray Faturroso. Obenauer finished with 208 yards on 30 carries in the reserve role. He also scored four touchdowns. Jay is a downhill runner that knows how to make defenders miss. Joe Sclafani will be in charge of holding down the Fullback position. Joe is the younger brother of Carmen and is quite an athlete as well. Joe is a good blocker which will help open up the running game for Obenauer. Joe also has good running ability and receiving skills. Expect the younger Sclafani to be a big part of the offense.
FB Joe Sclafani joined our team to discuss the offense in 2015
Junior Jasir Taylor will be the main target for Zbranak this season. Taylor is coming off a huge sophomore year, leading the Dragons in receiving catching 41 passes for 569 yards and 5 touchdowns. Taylor has been on the Varsity field since he was a freshman. Brick will count on Jasir even more this season. Jasir has excellent hands, and knows how to use his speed to beat defenders speed. Jasir will continue to put up big numbers in 2015.
After the graduation of Jacquez Johnson, everyone was thinking about who would step up at the other WR position. No reason to think about that anymore. Welcome to Brick Twp Javion Harris!! Javion spent his sophomore and junior seasons at Toms River High School South. Harris was one of the favorite targets of QB Tymere Berry. He is a strong receiver who is not afraid to catch the ball in traffic. Harris can also beat defenders with his speed and athleticism.
The Dragons will also look to their younger for depth at WR. Shaun Smith and Rob Spinello will both push Taylor and Harris in camp. This clearly a position with a lot of depth. It will be very tough for any opposing secondary to defend this group.
Dan Finelli will occupy the tight end position in 2015. Finelli has a lot of size at 6’1″ and will provide strong blocking to help boost the running game. Finelli will also be called upon to catch the ball in crossing routes. Ryan Anastasia will also look to get on the field at this position. With Finelli also having to play a big role on defense, Anastasia will get plenty of opportunity to make an impact.
Once again the Dragons ground attack will be in a good position to succeed with the big guys up front. Senior Captains Alex Trapasso and Tyler Colonno will anchor the offensive line for the Dragons. Both these players are three year starters and bring lots of experience and leadership to this offensive line. Trapasso is a huge center at 6’2″, 270, and Collono is 6’0″ 260. It will be very tough for defensive linemen to get past these two. Junior Jack Finelli will also be in the mix. He is a player who knows how to hold his blocks and keep defenders from getting to the ball carrier. Juniors Liam Poland and Kyle Jaggers will also be fighting for playing time. This is an offensive line with a lot of size and depth that will serve the Dragons well throughout the season.
NJSR had a chance to catch up with Senior Captains Alex Trapasso and Tyler Colonno
On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Cory Wilson returns for his senior season in 2015. Wilson was a big part of the middle of this defense in 2014. Wilson is coming off an outstanding season, finishing with 110 tackles. Wilson is a mutli-talented LB who can stop the run, and cover when needed. Dean Helstowski is really off to a great start in camp. Helstowski has great instincts, and does a fantastic job anticipating plays. He will be huge for the Dragons down the stretch. While this group of linebackers will definitely miss James Juliano and Ray Faturroso, Wilson and Helstowski are more than capable of leading the charge. Joe Sclafani is also another linebacker who will play a huge role. Sclafani has good instincts and can find his way to the ball carrier. Good vision is something that is so important for a linebacker, and Sclafani has that. Ryan Anastasia and Chris Juliano will provide depth for this group of LBs. They will push the starters in camp.
The defensive line for the Dragons will be led by powerhouse end Dan Finelli. Finelli stands at 6’1″ and brings tremendous size to the field at 260. He knows how to use his speed and athleticism to come off the edge in a big way. Finelli was one of the best ends at the Shore in 2014 with 10 sacks. When asked about his season preparation, Finelli added “I know how to give it 100% and go all out. and I bring a great work ethic to the game”. He will be a nightmare for opposing QB’s this season. Jordan Keefe is another star at the other end position. Keefe had a monster season in 2014, finishing with 85 tackles. Keefe will have his hand in the dirt, moving from the OLB position. Both Finelli and Keefe will make it very difficult for any team to run around either side. Anthony Rusignuolo is another strong player who will contribute in a major way. Rusignuolo is already demonstrating his leadership in camp by motivating his teammates. Tyler Colonno and Kyle Jaggers will also provide a strong attack within this defensive line. Both these defensive tackles know how to use size to their advantage, and can get off the line really quick. Look for this group to win many battles at the line of scrimmage.
Brick will also have a very talented secondary taking the field in 2014. Matt Schliefer and John Prato both bring a lot of experience to the position. They know what it’s like to play in difficult situations, and will provide that leadership to their teammates. Both Schliefer and Prato have great vision on the field. Jasir Taylor and Javion Harris are both players that can cover opposing WRs very well. They know how to focus on the ball, and make plays with their hands. Octavian Battle is another player who will be in the mix at the DB position. Battle has had a very good camp, and has a lot of good instincts on the field. This secondary is more than ready to have a great season!
While this Brick team has lost a lot to graduation, they have also reloaded big time. Alex Trapasso and Tyler Colonno will lead an offensive line that brings a lot of size and strength to the field. This will give Brick the ground and pound attack they need to get great production from Obenauer and Sclafani. Taylor and Harris will be great targets for Zbranak in the passing game. Defensively Cory Wilson, Dan Finelli, and Jordan Keefe will use their experience to lead some of the younger players. They bring a lot of experience from the 2013 and 2014 teams. After watching this defense in camp, you can already see the chemistry that is building between the players. This team is on a mission overall, and they are going to be tough for anyone in the Shore to beat. Look for the Dragons to contend in both Class A South and Central Jersey Group IV!
NJSR caught up with Brick Head Coach Len Zdanowicz to discuss the upcoming season
2015 BRICK DRAGONS SCHEDULE
9/12 vs Brick Memorial – 1PM
9/18 vs Southern – 7 PM
9/26 At Toms River East – 7PM
10/2 vs Jackson Memorial – 7PM
10/9 At Wall – 7PM
10/17 At Lacey – 1PM
10/23 vs Colts Neck – 7PM
10/30 vs Toms River North – 7PM
11/6 At Toms River South – 7PM
11/13 State Tournament/Consolation