The Brick Twp Dragons defeated the Toms River East Raiders 28-0 in the Saturday Night encore. Senior Quarterback Tom Zbranak had his best game since becoming the Dragons starter. Zbranak passed for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He demonstrated great field vision and a strong command in the offense. Ja’Sir Taylor caught 2 passes for 67 yards and a score. Taylor also rushed for a 21 yard touchdown. Anthony Costanza boosted the running attack, carrying the ball 11 times for 53 yards.
Defensively, Brick has been a powerhouse to start the season. The Dragons have only given up 6 points in three games. Tonight, Brick forced Toms River East to punt five times, and came up with two turnovers. All of the above paved the way for an outstanding performance. Deano Heltowski was all over the field making plays. Dan Finelli, Cory Wilson, and John Prato were all flying to the ball.
It was the special teams of Brick that got the night started. After forcing the Raiders to punt on their first possession, the Dragons got themselves in scoring position by blocking the kick. Jordan Keefe made a huge fumble recovery and Brick was threatening early.
Brick immediately got into the end zone as Ja’Sir Taylor once again showed off his blazing speed. Taylor took a handoff down the right side and went 21 yards for the score. Brick got off to a 7-0 lead and had the instant momentum.
“This was the first play of the offensive drive. The line made it easy for me. I was able to walk into the end zone”. added Ja’Sir Taylor after the game.
On the next series, Tom Zbranak made the most explosive game of the day! After feeling pressure, Zbranak rolled out to his side and hit Ja’Sir Taylor on the run. Taylor sprinted out to the sideline and put the after burners on. No one from Toms River East was within five feet. Just like that, the Dragons had built a 14-0 lead.
“Our goal was to establish the passing game because a lot of people have been watching the film. They have seen us running the ball. We just wanted to open it up and show everyone how successful we can be”, said Taylor after the game.
Joe Sclafani brought the power running game to give the offense another element. Brick would complete another scoring drive in the first quarter. This one was 3 plays for 23 yards. Sclafani would cap it off by pounding the ball in from the 3 yard line. This would give Brick a 21-0 advantage.
The Raiders could not do much to slow the Dragons down in the third quarter. Anthony Costanza made the most of his opportunity. Costanza had a chance to start as Jay Obenauer is recovering from an injury. The running back ripped off three runs to put the Dragons in scoring position.
From there it was Tom Zbranak who would make a huge play. Zbranak found Javion Harris in the back of the end zone. Harris leaped into the air and showed tremendous athleticism by staying in bounds. The Dragons have been looking to get Harris more involved in the offense. Harris responded in a big way. He had 3 catches for 59 yards and a score tonight.
This was all Brick needed to seal the victory. The Dragons are now off to a 3-0 start. Altogether, Brick has outscored their opponents by a 99-6 margin. They are easily becoming one of the most feared teams in the Shore. The shutdown defense has been phenomenal!
“We talked about coming out and playing like a team. Some of our guys were not able to play tonight. All we had to say was next man up! The guys that stepped up in their place did a great job. We took a game from a good team that needed a win tonight”. added Head Coach Len Zdanowicz.
Now the Dragons will move on with a very good Jackson Memorial team coming into town. Brick will look to make a statement on Friday night. A win over Jackson would give them an edge in A South. It would also create quite the shakeup in the Shore Conference Power Rankings.
Anyone who has ever been to a Brick Twp-Jackson Memorial game knows that nothing beats the environment. This is as high energy of a game as you can get. I would strongly recommend coming out for this one!
The two major programs split both matchups in 2014. Brick Twp took the first meeting by winning on the road in overtime. Jackson Memorial won in the Central Jersey Group IV Semifinals with a convincing 44-0 victory. The Dragons will look for a much different result in 2015.
“Next week, we have to be ready to practice. The team did a great job and got themselves a nice little goose egg tonight. The guys wanted to get out of here because they want to focus on something else. Now we can talk about that. It’s time to get back to work. I don’t even have to say anything else. All I have to do is mention the word 44. They know what I’m talking about”!, added Zdanowicz again.
After the game NJSR had a chance to catch up with Head Coach Len Zdanowicz and Wide Receiver Ja’Sir Taylor.
Passing: Brick – Zbranak 5-9-1-124, TRE – Laird 3-8-1-33.
Rushing: Brick – Costanza 11-53, Rothenberg 6-26, Prato 5-34, Taylor 3-25 Helstowski 2-12, Schreiner 1–1. TRE – Davis 23-91, Gilligan 6-8, Laird 6–7, Grande 5–2, Rainieri 3-1, Otten 1–4.
Receiving: Brick – Taylor 2-67, Harris 3-59. TRE – Engelhard 1-9, Saunders 1-12, Delvalle 3-33.
Interceptions: Brick – Javion Harris. TRE – Jake Gilligan
Brick – Ja’Sir Taylor 21 yard TD run. ( Harris kick)
Brick – Ja’Sir Taylor 65 yard pass from Zbranak. (Harris kick)
Brick – Joe Sclafani – 1 yard TD run. ( Harris kick)
Brick – Javion Harris – 26 yard pass from Zbranak. ( Harris kick)
Keep up with NJSR for all your previews, updates, and recaps. We will release the new SC Power Rankings on Tuesday!