Carmen Sclafani, Brick QB, hurt in 28-21 win over Toms River North

Carmen Sclafani, Brick QB, hurt in 28-21 win over Toms River North

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Carmen Sclafani, Brick QB, hurt in 28-21 win over Toms River North

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TOMS RIVER

Emotions ran high Saturday in Brick quarterback Carmen Sclafani’s first game against his former school, and the ending of the hard-fought contest with Toms River North was marked by a few pushes and shoves during what was supposed to be the handshake line — sure signs that an old rivalry has heated up again.

Brick won 28-21 in the Shore Conference Class A South game as Sclafani led the way by rushing for 138 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown in the first quarter. He also threw a 14-yard TD pass to freshman Ja’Sir Taylor that gave the Green Dragons a three-touchdown lead at halftime.

But Brick was outscored 14-0 in the second half and Sclafani finished the game on the sidelines with a bruised shoulder from a hit incurred late in the third quarter.

Brick coach Rob Dahl said Sclafani could have returned, “but we didn’t want to take any chances,” he said.

Sclafani, a junior, transferred from Toms River North before the academic year, following his uncle, Chip LaBarca Jr., who was the Toms River North head coach. LaBarca is now the Brick offensive coordinator.

Dahl said all of that plus other factors produced “a lot of energy” in the first game between the teams since the changes.

“We knew it would be like that. We knew North was looking forward to playing against Carmen and our kids were looking forward to it, too, because this figured to be a chance for us to get back on track and contend for the A South division title,” he said.

Brick (5-2, 4-1) is tied with Jackson Memorial for the division lead. It had been a three-way tie with Lacey until Jackson Memorial defeated Lacey Friday night. Brick controls its fate because victories in remaining divisional games against Jackson Memorial and Lacey will give the Green Dragons the title.

But winless Toms River North (0-6, 0-5) made it interesting by scoring two touchdowns after Sclafani left. Quarterback Mike Husni, who was 8 of 17 for 141 yards, brought the Mariners to within one touchdown with an 8-yard scoring pass to freshman Darrion Carrington with 1:34 left to play. The Mariners recovered their onside kick but were flagged for illegal touching because the ball didn’t travel 10 yards. Brick took over and ran out the clock.

“It’s tough to take positives from a game you lost but we made some changes in the second half that helped get us going and defensively we played a whole lot better getting off blocks and finishing off tackles,” Toms River North coach Dave Oizerowitz said.

The two teams roared through the first half by putting up a combined 411 yards in total offense.

Brick’s first two drives resulted in touchdowns by Raymond Fattaruso on a 1-yard run and Sclafani on the 43-yarder. Those drives sandwiched a 6-play, 73-yard Mariners possession capped by Husni’s 16-yard scoring pass to Jordan Craig. The Mariners’ touchdown was set up by Husni’s 43-yard run.

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