Brick senior lineman Matthew Ulufanua led the chant.
“We are Brick, we are Brick …” the top-seeded Green Dragons roared after their 26-15 victory over No. 3 Colts Neck in the NJSIAA Central Group IV championship game at The College of New Jersey on Saturday.
The Green Dragons (9-3) won their seventh sectional title in history and their first since 1994. The team and its fans celebrated the championship with cheers and chants that could be heard all the way back to Ocean County from the Mercer County campus.
Minutes after the win, the Green Dragons, celebrating at midfield, turned to their fans and hoisted their helmets. Their followers unleashed a standing ovation, highlighted by a deafening roar. Third-year coach Rob Dahl clutched the championship plaque and shouted, “This one’s for you guys.”
Brick swung in front to stay on a touchdown by junior running back Raymond Fattaruso with 2:59 left in the fourth quarter.
Green and white colors dominated the facility. One adult male wore a No. 130 practice jersey. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the school was also known as the University of Brick because the Green Dragons of then-coach Warren Wolf often dressed more than 100 players for games. Those were the days when Brick Township had one high school.
Numerous former Brick players, wearing green and white jackets, turned out for the game in 38-degree temperatures.
“There was no way were going to lose this game — not with our alumni here,” Dahl said. “We were there to win for our community. We played old-fashioned, swarm-to-the-ball Brick Township football.”
Fattaruso scored on a 2-yard run over the right side, putting Brick ahead 18-15. Junior Anthony Starego kicked the extra point for a 19-15 lead.
“I was very confident the play would work,” Fattaruso said. “My linemen got me the hole. This is an amazing feeling. My sister’s husband, T.J. Ventorino, played on our 1994 championship team.”
The touchdown capped a 14-play, 76-yard drive. Fattaruso muscled for 4 yards and a first down on fourth-and-1 with 4:44 left, putting Brick at the Cougars’ 8-yard line. Junior quarterback Carmen Sclafani, who rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns, followed with runs up the middle for 4 and 2 yards, placing Brick at the 2. Fattaruso scored on the following play.
“They controlled the clock,” Colts Neck coach Greg LaCava said. “They had big kids. Their quarterback gives them another dimension. We fought our tails off.”
With the Green Dragons’ fans roaring, “Let’s Go Brick,” the winners capped the scoring with 1:12 left in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run by senior running back Michael Muratore after Colts Neck turned the ball over on downs at its 16 with 2:07 to go. Playing in the defensive backfield, Sclafani intercepted a pass with 20 seconds remaining and Brick ran out the clock.
Colts Neck (10-2) took a 13-12 lead with 2:16 left in the third quarter on a 7-yard quarterback draw up the middle by junior Christian Sanchez. Senior tight end Nick Volpe caught the conversion pass from Sanchez to make the score 15-12.
Sanchez’s run capped a 9-play, 58-yard drive. Sanchez set up the score with a 13-yard dash to the Brick 18. Junior Daniel Calabro raced for 11 yards to the 7 on an option toss around left end. Sanchez scored on the following play.
Brick scored on the first series of plays in the third quarter. Sclafani concluded a 14-play, 69-yard drive with a 1-yard run over the left side for a 12-7 lead with 5:24 left in the quarter. Sclafani completed a 19-yarder to Fattaruso on fourth and eight, moving Brick to the 1. He scored on the following play.
“I had to set a fire under us,” said Sclafani, who transferred to Brick from Toms River North after last season. “We were a little sluggish in the first half. In the second half, we came out possessed. Our line came up big time. I guess it was meant for me to bleed green and white.”
Brick cut its deficit to 7-6 with 5:47 left in the second quarter when Sclafani capped an 8-play, 59-yard journey with a 5-yard run. Colts Neck took a 6-0 lead with 8:45 to play in the second quarter on a 48-yard dash up the middle by Sanchez. Female senior Abby Letson kicked the extra point. The Cougars marched 91 yards on eight plays for the touchdown.