Senior defensive end Kevin Waters thought the big crowd at Wall’s final Friday night home game of the season deserved to see the team at its best.
Waters and tackle Geoff Horwitz led a powerful defensive rally to start the second half, sparking Wall to an 18-6 victory over Brick in a nondivisional game.
Waters and Horwitz protected a Wall lead by each notching sacks the first time Brick had the ball in the third quarter. The resulting favorable field position set up a 28-yard field goal by Phil Shields that made the score 11-6. A 61-yard touchdown pass to Chris Quinlan from Jack Gifford in the fourth quarter served as further insurance.
The Crimson Knights (2-3) shut out Brick over the final two quarters, holding the Green Dragons (0-5) to three first downs over that span.
“We felt in the first half we shot ourselves in the foot a few times. It was an 8-6 lead but it should have been bigger,” said the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Waters, who collected a total of three sacks. “In the second half we felt we needed to send a message right away and get the offense the ball so we could score.”
Wall’s final home game Oct. 27 takes place on a Saturday afternoon for homecoming.
“For our seniors, we needed to sell out. We needed to get this win in our last Friday night home game,” Waters said.
Wall grabbed an 8-6 halftime lead on a safety from senior Shane Dingley’s punt block.
Wall forced the punt deep in Brick territory when defensive back Mike Cusack tipped the ball to break up a third-and-long pass. With a minute left in the second quarter, punter Steven Ferlisi took the snap near the goal line and was immediately met by Dingley, who stepped around the up-back.
The ball deflected through the back of end zone for the safety, though Dingley was a hair away from covering it for a touchdown.
That erased Brick’s work in tying the game 6-6 on a 13-play drive that consumed 6:25, ending with quarterback Brendan Darcy’s 1-yard sneak. Darcy — who was 6 of 17 for 78 yards — and wide receiver John Fuino connected for a 30-yard pass and a 12-yard pass to tight end Daniel Watson, but the drive was mostly ground-and-pound. Tailback Doug Cuccinello, who had a team-high 63 rushing yards, carried the ball five times on the scoring drive.
Wall struck first on Pete Miceli’s 45-yard touchdown run in the opening minute of the second quarter. Miceli had a game-high 89 rushing yards.
Wall nearly made it to the red zone on the game’s opening drive. Gifford, who was 4 of 9 for 103 yards at quarterback, took the ball 54 yards on an option run the first play from scrimmage, but Brick shut the door with the ball at the 26. Watson, a senior who doubles as a defensive end, sacked Gifford on a fourth-and-long.
Brick’s first drive ended when Cusack made an interception.