The old gang has come back together at the right time for Brick.
Connor Mulligan and Ray Fattaruso, both recently returned from absences, helped the defending champion Green Dragons’ cruise past Hopewell Valley 35-30 Wednesday night in a Central Jersey Group III semifinal.
Brick (17-5) won six of the first seven bouts and didn’t need to send wrestlers to the mat after Mulligan’s 4-3 decision over Austin Roskos at 120 pounds. The victory for Mulligan, a District 23 champion a year ago, made it 35-12 and Brick took forfeits at 126, 132 and 138.
That sets up a rematch of last year’s section final, with Brick visiting Ocean, and the Green Dragons bolstered their lineup with championship experience when Fattaruso’s return after a stint on the school’s bowling team. Mulligan meanwhile had been sidelined all season after sustaining a concussion until finally making his bout debut Monday. He’s now 2-0.
“This is happening at the right time because I feel like we can get so much accomplished with everybody here,” Mulligan said. “Ray and I bring a different vibe to the room. Any team after weeks of hard work gets into a routine and gets tired and it’s a nice change to have a different flow.”
Fattaruso, who upped his record to 7-0 with a 3-0 decision over Ward Taggart, showed up for preseason practices but coach Matt Opacity said the rigors of Fatturuso’s efforts with the school’s championship football team in the fall took its toll.
“It’s tough to get those guys back because it’s so physically demanding,” said Opacity, and Mulligan said of Fattaruso: “I don’t know what he was doing or what he was thinking but he ended up making the right decision.”
Brick started with a flourish against Hopewell Valley (15-5) thanks to Will Scott’s tilting demonstration in a technical fall over Owen Clarke at 145. Kyle Wojtaszek pinned at 160 and Dean Sherry decision at 170 as the Green Dragons roared; when Fattaruso won his bout, it was 20-3.
Sherry is 26-0, Wojtaszek is 22-3 and Scott is 24-2.
Mulligan scored twice on boot scoots against Roskos, who never took a shot, but Mulligan admitted he was tired at the end of the bout.
“I have to get back in the room because I’m still a little out of shape. I’m going to do what I can to help my team because we’re trying to build a tradition,” he said.