No. 6 Brick Memorial storms back to topple No. 2 Neptune

No. 6 Brick Memorial storms back to topple No. 2 Neptune

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No. 6 Brick Memorial storms back to topple No. 2 Neptune

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BRICK

There can be no questioning how good Brick Memorial is now.

The Mustangs, showing they have several players on offense who can hurt an opposing defense and playing hard-nosed physical football on both sides of the ball, wiped out a seven-point halftime deficit and defeated Neptune, 40-28, on Friday night in a nondivisional game at DiFabio Field.

The loss snapped Neptune’s 14-game winning streak and also will likely knock the Scarlet Fliers from the No. 2 spot they have held in the Asbury Park Press Top 10 in 19 straight rankings going back to the start of the 2011 season,

“There are no words that can describe this team right now. We’re on a roll,” said junior middle linebacker Nick Costa, who had a 43-yard interception return on the second play of the second half to tie the score and also rushed for 89 yards. “I don’t think anybody can stop us.”

“We can think we can beat anybody if we make no mistakes,” said senior quarterback Ryan Cieplinski, who threw for three touchdowns, ran for two more and threw for 245 yards and ran for 106 yards.

The No. 6 Mustangs (5-0) actually did have two turnovers late in the first half, which allowed Neptune (4-1) to grab a 28-21 halftime lead after it trailed 14-0 in the first quarter and 21-7 in the second quarter.

However, Costa immediately turned the momentum back into the Green and Gold corner with his INT return.

“We changed up our scheme on defense with our coverages,” Costa said. “I just saw him (the receiver) open and I jumped the route.”

From there, the game, which was played at a hectic pace in the first half, actually slowed down a bit until Brick Memorial faced a third-and-6 from its own 44. Cieplinski scrambled to his left and threw a ball that looked it might be intercepted. However, senior Cody Pinho came down with the ball for a 40-yard gain to the Neptune 16.

“It was a good play by Cody. I can count on everyone,” said Cieplinski, who admitted he thought the pass was going to be intercepted when he threw it.

Three plays later, on a 3rd-and-12 from the 18, Cieplinski avoided the rush by moving to his left and then fired an 18-yard TD pass to junior Mike Basile that put Brick Memorial ahead 34-28 with 10:35 remaining.

“I don’t know how I did it,” Cieplinski said. “The line blocked it enough for me to be able to throw it.”

Then, after the Brick Memorial defense forced a three-and-out, the Mustangs put together a drive that reminded everyone of the way they used to pound opposing defenses into the ground out of the flexbone alignment. Running mostly the triple option series out of the spread, Brick Memorial drove 78 yards in 11 plays and ate 5:49 off the clock.

Costa ripped off runs of 11, 9, 8 and 13 yards on consecutive plays to start the drive. Cieplinski fired a 16-yard completion to Pinho. Cieplinski ran for 3 yards on a third-and-1 and then capped the drive with an 8-yard TD run.

“I think we were more physical than them,” Cieplinski said.

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