Sports Roundup

Southern Wins First Football Division Title Since 2011

By David Biggy | Oct 16, 2019
Photo by: Southern Athletics The Southern Regional football team gathers after its 21-14 win over Middletown North on Oct. 11, which ultimately led to the Rams clinching the Shore Conference Constitution Division title.

Stafford Township — The last time the Southern Regional High School football team won a division championship, Mike Gesicki was a sophomore and nowhere near committed to playing at Penn State. The year was 2011.

Fast forward eight years to Oct. 11. Head coach Chuck Donohue’s Rams not only got by Middletown North, 21-14, by scoring a late touchdown, Marlboro also held on to knock off Freehold Township, thus clinching the Shore Conference Constitution Division title for Southern.

It’s been a long road back to the top of a division for the Rams, who for much of the past eight seasons hadn’t been above the .500 mark. That has changed this fall, as Southern brings a 5-1 record into this weekend’s last divisional matchup, against Freehold Township. Southern has outscored its opponents, 151-84, along the way.

A victory over the Colonials on Saturday, Oct. 19, would give the Rams an undefeated 5-0 mark in the division and should set them on the path toward a reasonably good seed for the NJSIAA South Jersey Group V playoffs. Following Week 5, Southern sits in the fifth spot in the section, based on the Unified Power Ranking.

During its Week 4 contest against the Lions, quarterback Cole Robinson found Will DeVane for a 4-yard touchdown pass, followed by a point-after kick from Hank Gallacher, to open the scoring in the second quarter and give Southern a 7-0 lead. Middletown North later put together a scoring drive to tie the contest at 7-7.

In the third quarter, both teams started the second half with touchdowns. The Rams completed an opening drive of 63 yards, culminated by a 1-yard plunge into the end zone by sophomore running back Jaiden Brown, who had another stellar game, with 156 yards on 31 carries.

After the Lions again tied the contest midway through the third quarter, Southern waited until the fourth to grab the victory, scoring with just under three minutes to go when Robinson, a senior, hit classmate Kieran Lang in the end zone with a pass from 6 yards out. Gallacher’s third PAT capped the scoring. On Middletown North’s ensuing possession, Robinson snatched an interception to seal the win.

Robinson finished with 11 completions for 82 yards, while DeVane snagged four passes for 40 of those yards. The Southern defense was solid again as well, allowing the Lions just 22 rushing yards and 122 total yards on offense. Colby Saxton led the charge with four tackles and two sacks, and Nate Committee added five tackles and a sack.

Southern Girls Volleyball
Snatches Division Crown

The Southern girls volleyball team scored a trio of impressive wins during a quad at St. John Vianney over the weekend, but the big news of last week was that with a victory over Toms River South on Oct. 10, the Rams captured another Shore Conference Class A South division title.

During the Rams’ 25-16, 25-11 win against the Indians, Southern (23-3) was led by Gianna Schiattarella, who delivered eight kills; Stephanie Soares, who gave out 18 assists and added an ace; and Rachael Pharo, who scored six kills, eight digs and two aces. Riley Vaughn and Adrianna Conforti each contributed three aces.

A day later, the Rams thumped division rival Jackson Memorial, 25-7, 25-19, behind 17 assists from Soares, five kills from Danielle Bosland and four kills each from Emma Gildea and Schiattarella. However, the big wins of the week occurred on Oct. 12, when Southern scored a trio of 2-0 victories against West Windsor-Plainsboro South, Pinelands Regional and Vianney.

In a 25-19, 26-24 win over WWPS, Schiattarella hammered down 10 kills and managed 11 digs, while Soares gave away 24 assists and recorded eight digs, and Pharo delivered nine kills, seven digs and a pair of aces. During a 25-23, 25-11 win over the host team, St. John Vianney, Soares dished out 22 assists and three aces, Pharo came up with 11 digs, six kills and three aces, and Schiattarella registered six kills and seven digs. Against the Pinelands Wildcats, the Rams were led by Schiattarella’s 15 kills and Soares’ 22 assists during a 25-23, 25-10 victory.

Southern Runners
Secure A South Titles

Acquiring division titles was a theme at Southern last week, and both the Rams’ girls and boys cross-country teams were involved in securing two more during the Shore Conference Class A South championship meet on Oct. 10. The girls cruised past Toms River North with 23 points, while the boys, with 29 points, also scorched the Mariners for the top spot.

In the boys’ race, Southern junior Jackson Braddock was the top individual with a time of 15:58. Braddock was followed by classmates Tim Sincavage, who placed third overall in 16:37, and Nick Guzewicz, who took the sixth spot in 16:56, while senior Nick Lemley grabbed seventh overall with a time of 17:00, and senior Jayant Jani finished 12th in 17:14.

Meanwhile, in the girls’ race, Southern sophomore Olivia Horton finished right behind winner Lily Oliver of Toms River South, taking second in 19:37, while senior Jaelyn D’Amelio crossed the finish line in third at 19:46, and freshman Mia Mastrogiovanni snagged the fourth spot in 19:53. Sophomore Rachel Short grabbed sixth in 20:13, and senior Emily Furlong was eighth overall in 20:28 to cap the Rams’ winning effort.

— David Biggy

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