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STAFFORD TOWNSHIP – Southern defeated Brick Memorial for the ninth straight time on Wednesday night, and this one wasn’t particularly close despite the Mustangs also being ranked among the state’s top 20. The Rams have had Brick Memorial’s number over the past decade, but to be fair, they’ve done the same to just about every program they’ve faced.

Southern, ranked No. 1 in the Shore Sports Network Shore 16 team rankings and as the consensus top-ranked public school in New Jersey, steamrolled yet another quality opponent with a 46-18 Shore Conference Class A South victory over No. 5 Brick Memorial.

Southern is ranked No. 5 in the Top 20 and No. 6 in the New Jersey Wrestling Writers Association Top 20. Brick Memorial entered the night ranked No. 19/No. 17, respectively.

Southern Regional sophomore Anthony Mason controls Brick Memorial freshman Sonny DiMatteo during a 10-0 vicory at 106 pounds during the Rams' 46-18 win over the Mustangs. (Bob Badders |
Southern Regional sophomore Anthony Mason controls Brick Memorial freshman Sonny DiMatteo during a 10-0 victory at 106 pounds during the Rams' 46-18 win over the Mustangs. (Bob Badders |

The defending NJSIAA Group 5 champion Rams won the first five bouts to open up a commanding 22-0 lead, and by the time the match reached the halfway point Southern had knocked off two of Brick Memorial’s top wrestlers and seized complete control. The Rams were attacking from the opening whistle of the first bout, piling up 44 points on 22 takedowns and punishing their opponents on top with 44 nearfall points. They had at least two back points in the first five bouts and earned back points in eight of 14 matchups (12 contested).

“It's the first one at home and there's a lot of anxiety, big crowd, and they're ranked in the state too and we always get a good crowd for them. I just wanted our guys to go out and attack and score points and not hold anything back, and I felt we did that for the most part," said Southern head coach Dan Roy.

Senior Hayden Hochstrasser won by fall at 165 pounds and junior Scottie Sari won by fall at 132 pounds while seniors Wyatt Stout (144) and Matt Henrich (157) and sophomore Atilla Vigilante (126) each won by technical fall. Sophomore Anthony Mason won by major decision at 106 pounds and seniors Tyler Chase (150), Mitch Bivona (175), and Collin French (215) won by decision in potential swing bouts.

Brick Memorial's first on-the-mat team points came from sophomore heavyweight Steven Gobraiel with a second-period pin. Sophomore Michael Napolitano and junior Gavin Martin won by decision at 113 and 120 pounds, respectively. Star junior Harvey Ludington, a two-time state finalist who won a state title as a freshman and is coming off a dominant run to a Beast of the East championship this past weekend, did not get to take the mat as Southern forfeited to him at 190 pounds.

"100 percent I wasn't happy about it," said Brick Memorial head coach Mike Kiley. "I knew they were going to forfeit, they did it last year, too. But hey, that's up to them to make their decisions. I just feel bad for the kid. He trains and wants to be a part of these matches. But he's a stud and I understand it. That's why we had to create this schedule for this kid, why we took him to the Beast and Escape the Rock and the Mustang Classic because we know he's going to get forfeited to."

"I understand why they're upset," Roy said. "I have a lot of respect for Harvey and I think he's a great wrestler. It's nothing personal. I just have to do what's best for my team. I felt the match was in hand at that point and I didn't want to risk a kid getting hurt. I'm all about wrestling (good) matches, you guys know I am and our schedule shows it. We go out and wrestle great competition all the time. I just felt we didn't need to do that. God forbid something happens and we don't have the kid. It wasn't worth the risk."

Roy was in a position to decide to forfeit to Ludington because his team had raced out to a big lead after the first five bouts. Stout, who finished sixth in the state at 132 pounds last season, turned a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period into a 16-1 technical fall victory over Tommy Prince at 144 pounds. Chase followed with a 13-7 victory over Jack Torre at 150 with three takedowns, a reversal, and two back points. At 157 it was Henrich, last season's 150-pound state champion who is committed to Virginia Tech, scoring early and often in a 17-2 technical fall over state qualifier Mason Pirnik. Hochstrasser (8th in NJ at 144 pounds last season) won by fall over Malachi Saint-Vil in 3:17 at 165 pounds to stretch Soutnern's lead to 19-0.

Southern's Wyatt Stout won by technical fall over Brick Memorial's Tommy Prince at 144 pounds. (Bob Badders |
Southern's Wyatt Stout won by technical fall over Brick Memorial's Tommy Prince at 144 pounds. (Bob Badders |

"I was very happy to see that because if you're turning guys on top you're putting pressure on them," Roy said. "You get a couple turns during a match there's a good chance you're going to win. I like that we're not just riding, we're going for holds and trying to score points."

Brick Memorial's chance to get back into the match hinged on the next three bouts with Ludington sandwiched between state qualifiers Trey Tallmadge and Ben Szuba at 175 and 215 pounds, respectively. This is where Southern's depth proved to be a great strength as they were able to counter with their own returning state qualifiers, returning region champions Bivona and French.

Tallmadge led 2-0 over Bivona after the first period at 175 pounds but Bivona rallied with an escape and a takedown to take a 3-2 lead into the third period. Tallmadge chose defense to start the period and Bivona never let him out, securing three back points to earn a 6-3 decision. After the forfeit to Ludington, French was able to keep the 6-foot-7 Szuba at bay and use a reversal in the second period and a takedown in the third for a 4-1 decision and a 25-6 Southern lead.

Gobraiel gave Brick Memorial a brief jolt when he locked in a bottom leg cradle and pinned Caleb Counts in 3:48 to cut the Mustangs' deficit to 25-12 with six bouts left. However, Mason, who was a region champion as a freshman, won by 10-0 major decision over promising Brick Memorial freshman Sonny DiMatteo at 106 pounds to respond and extend the Rams' lead to 29-12.

Brick Memorial won the next two bouts at 113 and 120 with Napolitano rallying in the third period to win 8-2 over Southern freshman Cash McVey. Napolitano, who was a state qualifier as a freshman last season, led 2-0 heading to the third period before McVey tied the bout with a takedown at the 1:36 mark. Napolitano escaped nine seconds later and then hit a five-point move off a scramble to secure the win. Martin blanked senior Jacob Chambers, 4-0, at 120 with a takedown in the first period and a reversal in the second.

Brick Memorial sophomore Michael Napolitano won 8-2 over Southern freshman Cash McVey at 113 pounds. (Bob Badders |
Brick Memorial sophomore Michael Napolitano won 8-2 over Southern freshman Cash McVey at 113 pounds. (Bob Badders |

"I liked that we didn't give up a bunch of pins in some weight classes where I thought we could have," Kiley said. "The kids really fought in some areas we knew they were going to be in a tough bout. We were outclassed in some weights but we fought hard and I like where we are early in the season."

The last contested bout came at 132 pounds where Sari, a returning state qualifier, cradled Ryan Henderson and secured the fall in 1:17. Brick Memorial forfeited the final bout at 138 pounds to junior Bryce Manera, a Holy Spirit transfer who was a state qualifier as a freshman.

Up next: Southern is off until after Christmas and will split its squad between the Powerade Tournament at Canon-McMillan High School outside of Pittsburgh on Dec, 29 and the John Goles Memorial Invitational at Warren Hills on Dec. 28. Brick Memorial will compete in the TCNJ Pride Tournament at Robbinsville High School on Saturday and will host the Mustang Classic on Dec. 27.


Box Score

No. 1 Southern 46, No. 5 Brick Memorial 18

144: Wyatt Stout (S) tf. Tommy Prince, 5:33 (16-1)

150: Tyler Chase (S) d. Jack Torre, 13-7

157: Matt Henrich (S) tf. Mason Pirnik, 4:47 (17-2)

165: Hayden Hochstrasser (S) p. Malachi Saint-Vil, 3:15

175: Mitch Bivona (S) d. Trey Tallmadge, 6-2

190: Harvey Ludington (BM) by forfeit

215: Collin French (S) d. Ben Szuba, 4-1

Hwt: Steven Gobraiel (BM) p. Caleb Counts, 3:47

106: Anthony Mason (S) md. Sonny DiMatteo, 10-0

113: Michael Napolitano (BM) d. Cash McVey, 8-2

120: Gavin Martin (BM) d. Jacob Chambers, 4-0

126: Atilla Vigilante (S) tf. Kson Young, 4:00 (17-0)

132: Scottie Sari (S) p. Ryan Henderson, 1:17

138: Bryce Manera (S) by forfeit

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