Rams close in on crown by beating Jags

Rams close in on crown by beating Jags


Rams close in on crown by beating Jags



Gerardo Jorge’s best position is on his feet. Connor Bohringer’s best position is on top.

So, it would have made perfect sense for Jorge, a senior at Southern, to choose neutral at the start of the third period of his bout against the Jackson Memorial junior on Monday night at Joe Perry Gymnasium even though Bohringer was winning 1-0.

“They (the Southern coaching) asked if I wanted to go down. If I was confident enough at getting out or if I wanted to go on my feet,” said Jorge, the District 24 champion at 160 last year. “I felt like why not go down and give myself that chance to win.”

Jorge’s decision paid off. In the last 30 seconds, he induced a locking hands call on the previously-unbeaten Bohringer and then reversed him to record a 3-2 win that sealed Southern’s 34-15 win.

The win, which was just Southern’s fifth in 27 meetings with Jackson Memorial since the start of the 1999-2000 season, and its first at Jackson Memorial since at least the late 1990’s, enabled it to take a major step toward clinching the Shore Conference Class A South championship. The Rams, who have beaten the Jaguars the last two seasons, have not won the divisional championship since the 2004-2005 season.

Jorge, who is hard to score on, thought there was a chance nothing would have happened had he decided to choose neutral.

“I didn’t want to be on my feet and have him just cling and shut me down and lose 1-0. I think that’s a horrible way to lose,” said Jorge, who beat Bohringer twice last season.

“I asked him what he wanted to do,” Southern coach John Stout said. “I was thinking if he went neutral that was his best chance to really win because Bohringer is real good on top. But, then you have two equal wrestlers. Bohringer neutralized Gerardo from neutral (in the first two periods). When you’re on the mat, you have to make a decision on what feels right for you. It worked out for him.”

Bohringer, the District 21 champion at 170 last year, rode Jorge for the first 1:28.2 of the third period. Shortly after a restart with 31.8 seconds left, Bohringer was called for locking hands.

“I thought he had locked hands earlier in the match when I went for that switch,” said Jorge, who bumped up from 170 for the bout at 182. “I knew if I went for it again the ref would be looking for it this time.”

After Bohringer was called for locking hands, Jorge sensed his opportunity to win the bout right there, rather than go into overtime and eventually a potential rideout situation that would have favored Bohringer.

“I knew for that moment, he was upset with himself,” Jorge said. “I knew I had to take advantage of that opportunity. I came back up and went to the switch again.”

Jorge’s win gave Southern a 22-3 lead after eight bouts and deflated the Jackson Memorial fans in what is normally a raucous atmosphere at Joe Perry Gymnasium, especially when Southern is the opponent.

Southern (12-0, 5-0), ranked No. 1 in the Asbury Park Press Top 10, clinched the match when Jesse Bauta bumped up from 220 to heavyweight and pinned Austin Ostrander, followed by Frank Amiano’s 2-1 win over Matt McGowen at 106.

The Rams won 10 of the 14 bouts. They won three bouts by one point and three more bouts by two points. There had been many a night or afternoon in the previous 15 seasons where the Rams experienced nothing but frustration when wrestling at Jackson Memorial. Two years ago, Southern won eight bouts here and still lost by a point.

The Southern-Jackson Memorial wrestling rivarly has been the Shore’s best rivalry in wrestling and probably one of the Shore’s best sporting rivalries over the last decade.

“It wouldn’t matter whether we wrestled them here, in the parking lot or anywhere else,” said Stout, who has been the Rams’ head coach since the 2001-2002 season. “Any time you can beat Jackson, it’s a good thing. They have a great coaching staff with a great history. They’re just always tough. Any time you can come out on the right end against a team like Jackson, it feels good.”


More USA TODAY High School Sports