It was a night of big plays for Brick, and those big plays delivered the Green Dragons to their first NJSIAA sectional final in 19 years.
“You don’t win a game like this unless it’s a whole team effort, and that’s what we got tonight,” said junior quarterback Carmen Sclafani, who rushed for 197 yards and scored the Green Dragons’ first four touchdowns Friday night en route to a 45-24 victory over Burlington Township in the Central Jersey Group IV semifinals. “Our offense, defense and special teams put it all together, and you don’t win a game like this without every single player on the team, from the scout guys to the starters.”
And while junior running back/linebacker Ray Fattaruso contributed 203 yards on the ground along with a TD, Brick’s entire squad put forth a mammoth effort, especially in the fourth quarter when the Falcons were attempting to surge and looking to tie things up.
After Scalafani scored first-half TDs with runs of 4, 51, 31 and 3 yards, the Green Dragons (8-3) took a 28-10 lead into halftime, but the Falcons shot back on their first possession of the second half, scoring on a 3-yard burst by senior running back Jahsiem Rover and a point-after kick by junior Andrew Biglin with 7:27 left in the third to cut Brick’s lead to 28-17.
Brick kicker Anthony Starego, who was perfect on the night with six PATs, booted a 20-yard field goal with 2:07 left in the third to give the Dragons a 31-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter. After Sclafani was picked off by Rover with 6:43 left, Burlington Township (6-5) needed only four plays and made use of a crucial personal-foul penalty to pull within 7 just 47 seconds later, when junior quarterback Khalil Trotman found junior Greg Taylor in the end zone on a 20-yard TD pass and Biglin kicked the extra point to make it 31-24.
On Brick’s next possession, the Dragons punted the ball away and the Falcons started their next possession on their own 45. Three plays later, Brick junior cornerback Ja’Quez Johnson, who dropped a pair of interception opportunities in the first half, snatched one at the Brick 40 to get the ball back for the Green Dragons with 3:28 to go. However, Brick went three and out and had to punt. The punt was downed at the Burlington Township 5 with 1:55 left. On the next play, another pass from Trotman, Johnson stepped in front of the intended receiver, picked off the pass at the 25 and raced into the end zone untouched for a 38-24 lead.
“Big plays are what make a game,” said Fattaruso, who also had a pair of sacks and a huge stop on Rover late in the first half on a fourth-and-1 with Burlington Township on the Brick 6. “We knew this game was going to be a dogfight. We couldn’t have played any harder than we played tonight.”