Those rare times when Ray Fattaruso is not on the field during a game are not the easiest times for him.
“I can’t wait (to get back on the field),” said Fattaruso, a junior running back/outside linebacker for Brick. “My adrenaline’s pumping. I love being on the field. Being on the sidelines is terrible even though I need a rest here and there and the coaches are doing it for my betterment. I do need a break here and there.”
Brick coach Rob Dahl said Fattaruso was on the field for about 130 of 150 plays two weeks ago when the Green Dragons played at Middletown South. He said Fattaruso was on the field for 129 plays last Friday night when Brick upended Toms River South, 47-21, at Keller Memorial Field.
“He plays with a lot of excitement and he has a lot of heart both ways,” Dahl said.
Last Friday night, the Brick coaching staff gave Fattaruso a brief break on offense. Immediately, Fattaruso began to get restless.
“He’s on the sidelines, saying, ‘I want to go back in. I want to go back in,’ ” Dahl said. “He doesn’t want to come off the field. He wants to be the kick returner. He wants to be the punt returner. He wants to do everything. It’s on special teams where we’re trying to get him rest.”
Fattaruso said the only time he does come off the field is when extra points are attempted.
“I just love playing football. I’ve been doing it since I was 5 years old and it’s something I want to keep doing until I can’t play anymore,” Fattaruso said.
But, those rare times when Fattaruso is not on the field, he is not just begging the coaches to put him back in. He becomes his teammates’ biggest fan.
“I’m then like the 12th man on the field. I’ll scream ‘Pass.’ I’ll scream, ‘Run,’ ” Fattaruso said. “I’m not just going to be an individual player. I’ll play for my team and I’ll play just to win.”
Fattaruso did a lot to help his team win against Toms River South — a win that established Brick as a legitimate contender to win the Shore Conference Class A South championship. Fattaruso ran for 112 yards and three TDs on 19 carries. He also threw a 30-yard TD pass on a halfback option pass to senior receiver Mike Muratore.
Defensively, Fattaruso had three sacks as the Green Dragons were able, at times, to disrupt Toms River South’s high-powered offense that is led by junior quarterback Tymere Berry and senior running back Otis Kearney.
“It was an emotional game because it’s one of the biggest rivals we have,” Fattaruso said. “Playing Toms River South is an awesome game because it’s always a hard-hitting game. It’s an absolute great feeling when you win a game like that.”
Brick was clinging to a 27-21 lead in the third quarter when Fattaruso threw the TD pass. Fattaruso said the play was run in practice twice last week and did not work either time.
“One was an incomplete pass and the other I overthrew it by a mile,” Fattaruso said. “When Carmen (quarterback Carmen Sclafani) called it, I had my heart pumping. I looked at Carmen like three times and was like, ‘Are you serious? You’re calling this play right now?’ I give coach LaBarca (Brick offensive coordinator Chip LaBarca Jr.) a lot of credit for having confidence in me throw the ball in a big game like that. I knew as soon as he called the play it was my time to shine.”
One gets the feeling that Fattaruso, who along with Sclafani has formed one of the Shore’s best backfields, will have plenty of chances to shine throughout the season.
“In order for us to have a better chance of winning, he’s got to play both sides of the ball, and he’s just as important to us defensively,” Dahl said.