Mustangs topple Rams, claim share of A South

Mustangs topple Rams, claim share of A South

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Mustangs topple Rams, claim share of A South

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STAFFORD

Brick Memorial senior Joe Beverly’s last match with his classmates inside Southern Regional High School will be a memorable one.

“There were five of us wrestling for the last time in this gym and, most of all, we just wanted to win the match,” said Beverly, who clung to a 1-0 decision by riding out Cory Case in the third period of the 170-pound bout to help the Mustangs score a 35-13 victory Wednesday and grab a share of the Shore Conference Class A South championship with Toms River South. “We just wanted to win this match so bad. We were ready to go from the start.”

In a contest that featured seven outcomes decided by two points or fewer, the Rams seemed to lack enough firepower with Nick Hem, Cody Smead and Josh Throckmorton out of the lineup to overcome the deeper Mustangs. But to Beverly, that didn’t matter.

“Southern seemed a little out of it,” he said. “But it’s still Southern. You can’t give them anything. Once you’ve got them down, you have to stay on them and finish them off or you can be in trouble.”

After Luke Vescovi won a 7-5 decision at 106, followed by Connor Maliff’s 6-2 win at 113 and Joe Ghione’s easy, 22-8 major decision at 120, the Mustangs rolled to a 10-0 advantage and never looked back.

The Rams temporarily climbed back into the match behind a 2-1 win from Andrew Tonnesen at 126 pounds, followed by Zach Wilhelm’s 12-3 major at 132, but Memorial remained ahead on the strength of a pair of 4-2 victories from Alec Donovan and Rob Ruggiero at 138 and 145, respectively, staking the Mustangs to a 16-7 lead with half the match gone by.

Chris Serpico cut into Memorial’s lead with a 6-5 victory at 152, and Gerardo Jorge trimmed the deficit to 16-13, with a 13-6 decision at 160. But Brick Memorial (16-2, 6-1) finished off the Rams (6-5, 4-2) with five straight wins to seal the overall victory.

Following a scoreless first period, Beverly earned an escape point to make it a 1-0 bout. Case chose defense to start the third period, and Beverly kept him down on the mat for the final two minutes to grab the win.

“All I wanted to do was keep him down on the mat and keep the momentum going for my team,” he said. “Being ahead by only three points, I knew I had to help them out by winning that match.”

Tyler Richardson then followed Beverly with a 4-2 win at 182 pounds, before Nicholas Costa scored an 11-2 major decision at 195 to widen the gap. After Southern conceded a forfeit to Matt Moore at 220, Tyler Polling finished off the Rams with a 7-1 decision over Jesse Bauta.

Brick Memorial head coach Dan O’Cone said the focus of his squad wasn’t so much gaining a share of the division crown but, more importantly, giving his wrestlers more experience heading toward the Shore Conference and NJSIAA Group IV tournaments.

“We’ve battled with Southern since I’ve been the coach here,” O’Cone said. “We didn’t discuss winning a division title. We were just coming here to beat Southern. We’ve only beat them one time in a dual meet during the regular season. So that’s what we focused on, and now, in hindsight, we have a share of the division title.”

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