BRICK Both Jack Finelli and Dan Finelli remembered vividly the feeling they had last Nov. 21 when they walked off Brick’s fabled Keller Memorial Field after Jackson Memorial had crushed the Green Dragons by 44 points in an NJSIAA Central Group IV semifinal.
“It stunk,’’ said Jack Finelli, a senior defensive lineman. “They were celebrating in the middle of our field.’’
“It was probably one of the worst feelings ever,’’ said Dan Finelli, a senior linebacker. “You definitely don’t want to lose like that.’’
The feeling for the Finelli brothers and everyone else associated with the Brick program was a lot better Friday night after a bizarre 2-0 victory over Jackson Memorial in a Shore Conference Class A South game where both teams’ offenses were greatly affected by the rainy, windy conditions that turned Keller Memorial Field into a quagmire.
“It was definitely a revenge game for us,’’ said Dan Finelli, who along with his brother, created havoc for the Jackson Memorial offense.
Jack Finelli said the score of last year’s playoff game was on the board in the Brick locker room ever since the Green Dragons’ 28-0 win at Toms River East on Sept. 26.
“Coach Lloyd (Brick strength and conditioning coach Scott Lloyd) would say 44-0 and everyone’s heads would get right on it,’’ Jack Finelli said.
Jack Finelli also said one of the worst parts about the 44-0 game was that it was the final game for a very talented senior class.
“We’ll never play with those seniors again,’’ Jack Finelli said. “Everyone felt terrible.’’
The only points came with 5:50 left in the first quarter when a snap on an attempted Jackson Memorial punt sailed out of the end zone.
Jackson Memorial, which had an 11-game-winning streak dating back to a 30-24 overtime loss to Brick last Oct. 4 snapped, missed a 33-yard field goal and had a 23-yard field goal blocked in the third quarter.
The result left Brick (4-0, 4-0), ranked No. 7 in the Asbury Park Press Top 10, in sole possession of first place in Class A South. Jackson Memorial (3-1, 2-1), Brick Memorial (2-1), Toms River North (2-1, 2-1) and Toms River South (2-1, 1-1) are all a game back in the loss column.
Brick’s defense, which has recorded three consecutive shutouts, not allowed a point in 12 quarters and allowed just six points on the season, allowed just 45 yards rushing and 67 yards of total offense to a Jackson team that had averaged 41.3 points a game in the first three games.
“Our game plan was amazing this week with Coach Mac (Brick defensive coordinator Brian McNamara),’’ Dan Finelli said. “Our game plans week in and week out are amazing.’’
With the wind at it back in the third quarter, twice it looked like Jackson Memorial was going to take the lead only for the Brick defense and special teams to come up big.
First, after a 29-yard punt return by Kyle Johnson to the Brick 11, Brick held the Jaguars to 1 yard in three plays. Jared Calhoun then made a 28-yard field goal that would have given the Jaguars a one-point lead, but a procedure penalty nullified the field goal. The second attempt was wide to the right.
On Jackson Memorial’s next possession, a 23-yard run by junior tailback Mike Gawlik gave the Jaguars a first-and-goal at the 4. Three plays lost 2 yards and then Matt Schleifer blocked the 23-yard field goal attempt.
Jackson Memorial did not get in Brick territory in the fourth quarter.
Brick dominated field position in the first half and turned the ball over on downs inside the Jaguars’ 5 late in the first half.
Key play: The blocked 23-yard field goal by Matt Schleifer with 1:28 left in the third quarter.
Offensive game ball: Brick junior Ja’Sir Taylor, who had 46 yards receiving and 31 yards rushing and helped Brick control the ball in the closing stages.
Defensive game balls: Brick senior defensive lineman Jack Finelli, Brick senior linebacker Dan Finelli and Jackson Memorial senior defensive end Tyler Towns.
Up next: Brick is at Wall next Friday night. Jackson Memorial is at Toms River North next Friday night.
Steven Falk: 732-643-4267; firstname.lastname@example.org
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