Brick Township’s football team has had some dramatic victories this season since losing its season opener to Howell, 7-6, like a 20-14 victory over Lakewood after trailing 14-0 and an overtime triumph over Central after taking the lead late in the game and seeing Central tie it in the closing seconds.
Last Saturday’s 15-13 triumph at home over Southern Regional High School, West Long Branch, on a long game-ending drive may be the defining one for this year’s young team.
"I really think we’re still in a growing stage this late in the season, but we do have the character to come back," said coach Warren Wolf after his 327th career victory. "Southern dominated in the second half and should’ve won the game, but we showed character in the determination to win the game. That’s a pivotal thing for us."
It may signify that Brick, which is 6-2 with only 10 seniors and many big plays coming from juniors and sophomores, is coming of age.
"We really have a young team and they’re maturing," said Wolf. "They’re very positive. They’re getting better all the time. Our character is the leadership by the seniors, six of whom play. The juniors and sophomores do a lot of the playing."
One of the seniors, tight end Brian Rykaczewski, caught the game-winning 14-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Giratore on fourth down and 10. It capped an 84-yard drive. Giratore alternates at quarterback with Kyle Watson. That play could be the one best remembered for making the NJSIAA playoffs, if Brick has the power points to make it.
The cutoff for selection follows this weekend’s action, and Brick appears to have enough points to qualify for the eight-team South Jersey Group IV bracket.
"This was a major win for us," said Wolf. "From what I understand, we’ll probably be the eighth seed playing the No. 1 seed, and [whether] we’re able to come back at the No. 1 seed is up to the boys because it will take effort, determination and hard work. If we do qualify, we want to be a good representative and do our best because the Green Dragons have a lot of pride, tradition and a great work ethic."
Making the playoffs will represent a great comeback for a team that Wolf said has been in an "uphill battle" since its opening game against Howell, which it lost in the last two minutes.
"We didn’t play well that day," said Wolf, whose team has won its last three games after its other loss to Toms River South. "Things looked really bleak for us and I’m really proud of the team."
Along with the aforementioned players, Wolf saluted the efforts of senior defensive tackle Wayne Neidermeier, senior running back-defensive end Haniff Rodriguez and junior Nick Mullins, another of the many versatile two-way players who will help the Green Dragons qualify for the playoffs.