Brick Memorial pulls away for win over Middletown North

Brick Memorial pulls away for win over Middletown North


Brick Memorial pulls away for win over Middletown North



Brick Memorial sprinted onto its football field hoisting a flag bearing a skull and crossbones.

Brick Memorial’s Billy Bones. Friday was the home opener for the proud Mustangs, who had not won a football game in almost a year. The flag seemed fitting, a symbol of how hungry Memorial was for a win.

A physical Memorial effort saw the Mustangs gradually pull away from a rebuilding Middletown North team, 29-3. Call it a quality team effort with four different ‘Stangs — Joe Hans, Mike Basile, Connor Owen and Dwayne Gudge — scoring touchdowns.

It was also summer football, a time where hope springs eternal. Middletown North and its new coach, Steve Bush, expected to win. For the Lions, 2-8 last year, this was the season opener.

Midway through the second quarter, the Lions led 3-0. By the half, Memorial (1-1) had fought in front, 7-3. By the second half, Brick Memorial’s physicality wore Middletown North down.

“I’m proud of our kids,” Brick Memorial coach Walt Currie said. “We learn from the past. I’m happy for our seniors. This was their last home opener.”

After a 5-0 start last year, Memorial ended up 5-5.

Middletown North’s Jordan Pitts took the opening kickoff to the Memorial 27-yard line. The Lions showed some no-huddle offense, but on fourth down Memorial’s Rob Triano intercepted quarterback Ryan McMahon in the end zone.

Memorial fumbled the ball back two plays later. This time, Middletown North cashed in on Nick Beanta’s 24-yard field goal.

On Memorial’s fourth possession, the Mustangs found the end zone. Basile and Hans each ran twice on the 4-play, 51-yard drive. From the 18-yard line, Hans faked to Basile, then darted up the middle for the touchdown and a 7-3 lead with 6:18 remaining in the half.

The first half featured five turnovers, three by the Lions. But Middletown North also managed to run 37 plays.

On Memorial’s second possession of the third quarter, Gudge, on his second carry of the game, rambled untouched around left end and found the end zone from 61 yards out. A 2-point conversion put the Mustangs on top, 15-3, with 3:49 left in the third.

Middletown North put together an 11-play drive, but stalled at the 14-yard line when a 13-yard fourth-down pass to Jordan Pitts was one yard short of a first down.

Where the Lions’ long drive stalled, Memorial scored on the next play. Quarterback Hans floated a pass over the middle to a wide-open Basile, who sprinted 93 yards untouched for the touchdown.

On the Mustangs’ next possession, Owen ran five times on a 56-yard, 9-play drive, scoring from 1 yard out.

More USA TODAY High School Sports