BRICK TOWNSHIP – The best way to describe Southern’s win over Brick Memorial on Thursday is with one word: dominant.

The Rams, ranked No. 4 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10,  jumped on the No. 8 Mustangs early and never looked back, taking nine of 14 bouts and securing eight bonus-point wins in an emphatic 48-24 Shore Conference Class A South victory that kept them on track for a share of the division title. Southern won by fall in six bouts, including a pin by Haven Tatarek over returning region champion Ean Mueller, while senior John Stout recorded an impressive major-decision victory over fellow state qualifier David Szuba in the match’s marquee bout.

*Skip ahead to the 7:45 mark for the start of the broadcast* 

Unlike most of the meetings between the traditional powers, this one had little drama. Southern opened a 12-0 lead after two bouts and Brick Memorial never got closer than a nine-point deficit. The match was already in hand at 170 pounds when Tatarek tied the bout at three with a takedown and quickly turned Mueller for the fall in 3:42, piling on the points and giving Southern a 35-9 advantage.

“A guy like Haven, people downplay him a little bit but the kid has worked very hard,” said Southern head coach John Stout. “And you have to think his practice partners every day are John and Nicky O’Connell, so he has harder practices most days than he has matches. He’s coming along very well for us.”

Then came the 182-pound bout between Stout, a Region 8 champ last season who entered the night 14-0, and Szuba, a standout sophomore who was a state qualifier as a freshman and came in with a 13-1 mark. Any hope for a close match within a lopsided dual quickly went out the window as Stout had a takedown and two near-fall points by locking in a quick cradle. He added another takedown in the first period to go up 6-1 on his way to a thorough 11-3 win.

“You just try to focus on yourself and do what you have to do,” Stout Jr. said. “If everyone does that the team points will come with it.”

“David is a good kid and a great wrestler, and has a huge future in front of him,” Stout Sr. said. “John was smart and tough and wrestled well, so I was pleased to see him have that kind of win.”

Szuba has a judo background and can hit a throw at any time, so Stout had to find a balance between being cautious and scoring points.

“It really helps with my dad watching all the matches, he knows what to do,” Stout Jr. said. “I had to keep my right hand on his head and not get too close to him and let him get the hooks. I just tried to do that as much as possible.”

Matt Brielmeier opened the match with a first-period pin over freshman Ryan Smith at 120 pounds and Sebastian Delligatti followed with a pin over Nelson DeJesus in 3:53. Brick Memorial won the coin flip and had the ability to control certain matchups, and its first move was to get junior Michael Richardson up to 132 and away from Delligatti. The Mustangs were looking for bonus points with Richardson squaring off against freshman Nik Lawson, but Lawson did his job by holding Richardson to a 5-0 decision.

Robert Woodcock followed by pinning Sean Monaghan in 1:14 at 138 pounds and Nick Pepe won by 15-0 technical fall over Jared Crippen at 145 pounds, giving the Rams a comfortable 23-3 lead. Brick Memorial looked like it may have gained some momentum when senior Caleb Alvarado threw and pinned Luke Galan with 10 seconds left in a 1-1 bout at 152 pounds, but once again Southern had an answer. Senior Nick O’Connell a state medalist as a sophomore and a region champion last year, pinned Ruben Lizardi in 1:40 at 160 pounds to extend Southern’s lead to 1:40.

The pin by Tatarek and the major decision by Stout at 170 and 182, respectively, were followed by Ben LoParo’s 12-6 decision over Brick Memorial freshman Sam Azzaretti at 195 pounds and J.T. Cornelius’s pin over Andrew Zahlmann at 220, ballooning Southern’s lead to 48-9 with three bouts left.

Brick Memorial won the last three bouts as Roberto Herrera held off Gabe Murray, 3-2, at heavyweight and Michael Cate won by fall in 56 seconds over Chris Lubeski at 106 pounds before state medalist Vincent Santaniello received a forfeit at 113 pounds to close out the dual.

Southern’s chance to win the division outright went away when the Rams were defeated by Jackson Memorial earlier in the season, but when Toms River North beat Jackson last week it opened the door for the Rams to earn at least a share of the championship for the fourth straight season. They had beat Brick Memorial and Toms River North to do so, and they certainly took care of business Thursday night. After Saturday’s tri-match with Middletown North and Timber Creek, they’ll shift their attention to the No. 2 Mariners.

“We’re just trying to chop away and we’re not looking past anybody,” Stout Sr. said. “We have Middletown North on Saturday and we have to handle our business there. Tuesday we’ll go up to Toms River and see what happens.”

“We started off a little slow with the loss to Jackson but everybody has learned from their mistakes and has been working very hard,” Stout Jr. said. “If we just keep getting wins our time will come to redeem ourselves.”


Box Score

No. 4 Southern 48, No. 8 Brick Memorial 24

120: Matt Brielmeier (S) p. Ryan Smith, 1:48

126: Sebastian Delligatti (S) p. Nelson DeJesus, 3:53

132: Michael Richardson (BM) d. Nik Lawson, 5-0

138: Robert Woodcock (S) p. Sean Monaghan, 1:14

145: Nick Pep (S) tf. Jared Crippen, 5:01 (15-0)

152: Caleb Alvarado (BM) p. Luke Galan 5:50

160: Nick O’Connell (S) p. Ruben Lizardi 1:40

170: Haven Tatarek (S) p. Ean Mueller 3:42

182: John Stout (S) md. David Szuba 11-3

195: Ben LoParo (S) d. Sam Azzaretti 12-6

220: J.T. Cornelius (S) p. Andrew Zahlmann, 1:16

285: Roberto Herrera (BM) d. Gabe Murray, 3-2

106: Michael Cate (BM) p. Chris Lubeski, 0:56

113: Vincent Santaniello (BM) by forfeit

Records: at Brick Memorial (8-1, 3-1); Southern (7-2, 3-1).


Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.


More From Shore Sports Network