The stands were empty, the fans had gone home, and most of his teammates had made their way toward their team buses.
So Brick Memorial junior wideout/linebacker Mike Basile was a lonely figure Friday night as he walked near midfield at Jackson Memorial High School, his eyes scanning the ground.
“Lost my mouth piece,” Basile said.
And that was just about all that went wrong for Basile, who scored four touchdowns — three on passes from senior quarterback Ryan Cieplinski — in leading the No. 9 Mustangs (3-0, 2-0) to a 34-7 Shore Conference Class A South victory over the Jaguars (1-2, 1-1).
Basile also registered three quarterback sacks in the second half.
After scoring just one TD late last season Basile, 6-feet-2, 185 pounds, has 10 this season, nine in the last two weeks.
He racked up five last week in a victory over Middletown North.
“For everybody else he’s been a sleeper,” Brick Memorial coach Walt Currie said. “The only place that really knew about him was us. We knew he was going to have a breakout season.”
Basile’s three scoring receptions covered 118 yards (13, 28, and 77 yards) and he also ran 13 yards for the game’s first touchdown in the opening quarter.
He hauled in a 13-yard strike from Cieplinski that made it 14-0 by halftime.
In the third quarter, Basile snared a 28-yard TD pass.
Moments later, he sped down the left side on a 77-yard reception that made it 27-0.
“I talked to the coaches, I told them the play was open,” Basile said. “Ryan threw the ball, I just ran.”
Basile said he prefers the defensive side of the ball.
“I started defense last year but both are awesome,” he said. “I’m just looking to play some college ball.”
“The kid is a stud, a great kid, and a hard worker,” Currie said. “When one of your hardest workers in the weight room is one of your best players it’s always a good thing.
“The defensive coaches did a good job of scheming some things up and Mike made some plays as far as the sacks go,” Currie said. “We were able to turn him loose a little bit knowing they we’re going to have to throw the ball.”
Jackson Memorial broke through late in the third quarter. Sophomore quarterback Charles Lombana directed a 70-yard drive in seven plays capped by a one-yard TD plunge by junior Khani Glover.
But that was all it could muster.
“We didn’t block very well, we didn’t play any defense,” Jackson coach Walt Krystopik said. “It’s tough to win a game like that.”
“They’re a young football team,” Currie said. “They’re going to be very, very good.
“We felt coming in it was going to be a tight battle,” Currie said. “We felt it was going to be an intense, passionate, physical, football game and it was.”
Lombana, under duress all night, threw for 113 yards.
“The score doesn’t indicate that but it was a physical battle and that’s what we expected,” Currie said.