There was no stopping Matt Gudzak.
The Toms River High School East senior running back sped for 152 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries and hauled in two touchdown passes, propelling the Raiders past Brick 42-35 in Shore Conference Class A South on Friday night.
Gudzak blazed past the Green Dragons for touchdown runs of 71 and 59 yards. The speedster hauled in passes of 18 and 48 yards from senior quarterback Paul Aliseo for touchdowns. Gudzak turned the FieldTurf into a speedway, racing for 147 first-half yards and two touchdowns on seven carries and adding one touchdown catch.
“Wow,” the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder said. “I’d like to thank my offensive linemen for opening up the holes and letting me run.”
East junior running back Jeff Wood rushed for one touchown and hauled in a touchdown pass from Aliseo, who completed six of seven passes for 145 yards and three scores. Brick junior quarterback Carmen Sclafani rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.
The Raiders sped to a 21-7 first-half lead. The winners took a 28-21 lead into the fourth quarter.
East took a 6-0 lead with 1:11 left in the first quarter on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Aliseo to Gudzak. Senior Jerry Caporale kicked his first of six extra points for a 7-0 lead. The touchdown capped a 10-play, 85-yard drive. Aliseo completed a 36-yarder to Wood to the Brick 34-yard line and East scored five plays later.
No. 7 Brick replied with a 9-play, 74-yard touchdown drive. Sclafani capped the march with a 29-yard touchdown run, pulling the Green Dragons to within 7-6 with 9:57 left in the first half. Senior Anthony Starego kicked his first of five extra points to tie the game at seven.
Gudzak flashed his speed on the game’s following play from scrimmage, bolting 71 yards up the left sideline for the go-ahead touchdown and a 14-7 lead with 9:34 to go in the first half.
The Raiders (2-4, 1-3) pushed their lead to 21-7 when Gudzak sprinted through a huge hole in the middle of the line and raced to the end zone with 6:01 to play in the first half.
Brick drove from its 30 to the East 19 on the game’s following series and turned the ball over on downs as a Sclafani pass fell incomplete on fourth and eight with 33.8 seconds to go.
East extended its lead to 28-7 with 7:54 remaining in the third quarter on a 26-yard dash up the middle by Wood. Brick (4-2, 3-1) answered with a 10-play, 73-yard scoring drive. Junior running back Raymond Fattaruso capped the series with a 2-yard touchdown run, drawing the Green Dragons to within 28-14 with 3:44 left in the third quarter.
With 2:30 left in the third quarter, Gudzak fielded a short snap from center while punting and was tackled at the East 35, setting up a Brick touchdown. Sclafani scored on a 23-yard run two plays later, slicing Brick’s deficit to 28-21 with 2:10 remaining in the third quarter.
Wood hauled in a 5-yard scoring pass from Aliseo with 11:53 left in the fourth quarter to send East ahead, 35-21. Brick senior running back Michael Muratore made it 35-28 with 7:43 left, scoring on a 3-yard run.
Gudzak capped the scoring with 4:24 remaining, catching a 48-yard touchdown pass from Aliseo.