Delsea Falls in State Final to South Plainfield

By Sentinel Sports Writer Jacob Keppen
The 2016 Crusaders focus was much different than that of the 2015 Crusaders. Last year Delsea aimed for perfection, but their undefeated dream was cut short by South Plainfield in the Group 3 finals. This year’s Crusaders weren’t chasing a perfect season, Don Bosco ended that dream in December. This year Delsea seeked revenge. The opportunity arose when Delsea defeated Gateway for the South Jersey Group 3 championship. Delsea, sitting at #2 in the state bracket, were salivating at the idea of a finals rematch with South Plainfield, a chance at revenge. The only thing standing in the Crusaders’ way of revenge was undefeated Cranford.
Starting at 126, Tim Spatola gave the Crusaders the perfect start with a 11-2 major decision over Conor Halpin. Cranford would respond immediately with a :59 Tom DiGiovanni pin. The Cougars followed with another pin at 138, to which Delsea would respond with a pin of their own at 145.  Delsea’s Seth Summers won via 8-4 decision at 152, while Cranford’s Brian McGovern answered with a 9-4 major decision. Delsea’s Bill Janzer decked Matt Doran in a 2:47 pin. At 182 Vince DeGeorge and Vince Cocina went to overtime, in which Cocina won 5-4.
Delsea gained key pins at 195 from Tommy Maxwell, and at 220 from Brad Dobzanski. Cranford made things a bit interesting when heavyweight Alex Esposito defeating Jake Hallowell in a 10-2 major decision, but a Cranford comeback was shut down by an overtime 6-4 victory at 106 by Delsea’s Justin Doughterty.
Delsea ultimately defeated Cranford 39-25, the Cougars first loss of the year. On the other side of the bracket, South Plainfield defeated Sparta with ease 47-15. The Crusaders had their chance at revenge against the Tigers, who ended their perfect season in the Group 3 Finals last year.
The finals match started with a bang at 132, with Delsea’s Tim Spatola slamming Jacob Painton. Spatola was not able to score the takedown, instead Painton gained control. Painton would pin Spatola in 2:36. Joe Sacco gave South Plainfield another 6 points at 138, taking just 31 seconds to pin Vito Genna.
The next match saw an unlucky Nick Bennett have Kyle Bythell on his back for several seconds, but not receive the fall. Bythell would defeat Bennett 8-7 to make it 15-0 South Plainfield.
At 152 Seth Summers put Delsea on the board with a 8-2 decision. Mason Maxwell would follow with a 7-3 decision win. Bill Janzer defeated Brenden Hedden via 26-11 tech fall at 170, and Vince DeGeorge defeated Ryan Marston 5-3 in overtime to make it only a one point deficit.
South Plainfield would flex their muscles in the heavyweights. In a key match at 195, South Plainfield’s Luke Niemeyer defeated Tommy Maxwell 3-2 on a takedown at the 2nd period buzzer. South Plainfield gave up a forfeit to Brad Dobzanski at 220, but at heavyweight Zach Delvecchio kept his perfect season alive with a 21-6 tech fall over Jake Hallowell.Thomas Fiero’s pin at 106 to make it 29-20 South Plainfield pretty much made the match out of reach. John Patterson tried to keep Delsea in the match with a 4-2 decision at 113, but Joe Heilmann ended any thought of a comeback quick, pinning Travis Griffith in 33 seconds to clinch South Plainfield’s 2nd straight New Jersey Group 3 Title. The final score was 38-23, South Plainfield champions once again after defeating Delsea in the final for the 2nd year in a row. Delsea will move forward into the individual portion of the season, hosting the district 31 tournament.