Mustangs happy with 'ugly win' over Raiders

Mustangs happy with 'ugly win' over Raiders

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Mustangs happy with 'ugly win' over Raiders

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TOMS RIVER

It was not a work of art for Brick Memorial Saturday at Toms River East’s Dvorak Field.

However, if the Mustangs do go on to make something positive happen with their season, they will perhaps look back on their “ugly” 14-10 win over Toms River East in a Shore Conference Class A South game as the turning point of their season.

Brick Memorial (2-2, 1-2), for the second straight week, played without slot back/safety Mike Basile. It also lost three fumbles in the second half. Basile, who is one of the Shore’s best players has a turf toe injury and his foot was in a boot. His status for next week’s game at Neptune is to be determined.

However, the Mustangs hung tough defensively in the second half and were able to establish an effective inside running game in the first half when they scored both their touchdowns.

“Of course, they’re ugly wins. That was an ugly win,’ said Brick Memorial coach Walt Currie. “What I mean by that is we won the game on the inside. That’s what we talked about this week is ‘Win ugly on the inside so you can be pretty on the perimeter.’ We didn’t win pretty on the perimeter at all, but we won inside. When you win inside and you just pound it, it looks ugly. To us, we like winning ugly. We’re OK with that.”

Brick Memorial’s “A” backs (the fullback in the flexbone alignment) — junior Connor Owen and senior Dwayne Gudge — combined for 114 yards on 26 carries.

Currie, who has been one of the Shore’s leading proponents of the triple option both during his stint from 2002-06 as Point Boro’s offensive coordinator and as Brick Memorial’s head coach since 2007, went back to his roots this past week.

He had his team line up in the flexbone alignment with quarterback Joe Hans taking the snap under center. Brick Memorial had been running the triple option out of the spread since the start of the 2012 season.

The change appeared to really work in the first half as the Mustangs offensive line was getting a push and Owen and Gudge were able to run the dive consistently.

Brick Memorial went 83 yards in 15 running plays in 7:56 on its first possession for its first touchdown — 6 yard run by Owen. The Mustangs went 75 yards in seven plays on their second possession, with senior slotback Rob Triano taking an option pitch from Hans for the TD.

“One of the things is our center (Jake Lombardo) had gotten injured,” Currie said. “We said, ‘We have to get back under center’. We started talking about, How are we going to run what we’re doing.’ We just decided, ‘If we’re going to get under center, we might as well go back to the ‘bone (the flexbone).’ That’s kind of where we’ll be.

“It’s much simpler for the O-line (offensive line) guys. They can play hard. They can play fast. They can play downhill. There’s absolutely no thinking involved. We took a lot of thinking away so they can play. This is what our kids are built to do this better. It was my mistake to even be in the ‘Pistol’ (the spread).”

However, Brick Memorial’s offense stalled after its first two possessions. It was stopped on two fourth-and-1’s in the second quarter.

In the second half, the Mustangs fumbled on three of their first four possessions. They lost fumbles at the Raiders’ 23, their own 40 and their own 42.

Toms River East (0-4, 0-3), which has lost 10 straight Class A South games, had its chances.

The Raiders had a lengthy drive from their own 22 to a third-and-1 at the Brick Memorial 6 in the third quarter before a procedure penalty forced them to settle for a Jerry Caporale 27-yard field goal with 2:09 left in the third quarter.

Toms River East also fumbled on a 16-yard completion on a fake punt, with Brick Memorial’s Matt Cathey recovering on the Mustangs’ 27.

Then, finally, Caporale, who is also Toms River East’s quarterback, was sacked for a 32-yard loss by sophomore Mike Manso after a lengthy scramble on a fourth-and-1 from the Brick Memorial 29 with 3:49 left.

The Mustangs were able to run out the clock as Triano, who also had an interception late in the first half, made a diving catch for a first down on what was supposed to be a “Pop Pass’ on fourth and-5 from the Toms River East 34.

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