BRICK – It is like a game of chess for defenses when they try to devise a game plan to defend the Toms River North running game.
And for good measure, Toms River North will give the ball once in a while to extremely talented sophomore running back Daryn Blackwell. The Mariners will also throw several different formations at a defense and run the same plays out of them.
Friday night, at Brick’s Keller Memorial Field, Toms River North had everything working for it in the running game. Moorer ran for 186 yards on 26 carries and two TDs, including the go-ahead TD with 10:49 remaining. Husni added 119 yards on 24 carries and a TD as the Mariners compiled 385 yards rushing and defeated previously-unbeaten Brick, 26-14, in a key Shore Conference Class A South game.
The win enabled Toms River North (7-1, 6-1), ranked No. 7 in the Asbury Park Press Top 10, to clinch a tie for the Class A South championship. It is the Mariners’ first divisional title since 2008 when they won the now defunct American Division title.
Both Brick (7-1, 5-1), ranked No. 3 in the APP Top 10, and No. 6 Brick Memorial (6-2, 5-1) can make it a three-way tie for the divisional title if they defeat Toms River South (4-3, 3-3) and Southern (2-5, 1-4) respectively next week.
Toms River North’s rushing output came against a defense that had allowed just 20 points total and had recorded five shutouts in the first seven games of the season.
“We went against the No. 1 defense in the Shore, maybe the state coming into the game, but we thought coming we had a great game plan for them,” Toms River North coach Dave Oizerowitz said. “The kids bought into it all week. They (Brick) did exactly what we thought they were going to do and we attacked it. We really attacked it with a variety of formations with similar concepts.”
The Mariners attacked the Brick defense with Moorer running inside in the first half with both zone reads and dive plays, and in the fourth quarter, they went to Husni running to the outside with Moorer leading the way blocking.
“The running combination is great because they (the defense) can’t really key on more than one person,” Husni said.
“It’s his finesse and quick feet and my powerful running,” said Moorer, when asked what makes him and Husni so difficult to defend.
Moorer’s 9-yard TD capped a 68-yard, 14-play drive that was keyed by a 2-yard run on a fake punt by Blackwell on a fourth-and-1 from the Brick 48.
Husni then keyed a 95-yard, 13-play, 5:39 drive with both his legs and his arm. He got the drive started with a 9-yard completion to Bryce Watts to the Mariners’ 18. He then ripped off runs of 10, 39, and 10 yards before Moorer capped the drive with a 1-yard TD run with 2:49 remaining.
“The best thing about it (the Husni-Moorer combination) is they work off one another,’’ Oizerowitz said. “Asante is as good a blocker as he is a runner. He’s a vicious blocker. He takes people off their feet,” Oizerowitz said. “Those guys feed off one another. Neither one of them is selfish. They want to do whatever it takes to win. They talk about that all the time.”
Toms River North had built a 14-0 lead on a 32-yard TD run by Blackwell (57 yards on six carries) with 4:17 left in the first quarter and a 2-yard run by Husni with 11:54 left in the first half.
Brick tied the game on Tom Zbranak TD passes of 77 and 38 yards to junior Ja’Sir Taylor. The first one came on the first play after the Husni TD. The second one came with 9:11 left in the third quarter.
Key play: Blackwell’s 2-yard run on a fake punt on a fourth-and-1 from the Brick 48 that keyed the Mariners’ go-ahead TD drive.
Offensive game ball: Toms River North’s offensive line which did an outstanding job in enabling Moorer to run for 186 yard, Husni for 119 and Toms River North for 385 yards.
Defensive game ball: Toms River North defensive end Da’Shon Copes, who also had a key block as a blocking tight end on Blackwell’s 32-yard TD run.
Up next: Toms River North is at Neptune next Friday night. Brick is at Toms River South next Friday night.
Steven Falk: 732-643-4267; email@example.com
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