In a span of two hard-earned hours Wednesday evening, Danbury showed why it’s the team to beat in the FCIAC once again.
The Hatters, the defending league champs and winners of 24 of the last 25 FCIAC tournaments, left no doubt about their lofty status as the state’s top-ranked team with a 48-12 victory over Warde.
Remarkably, it was the 344th straight win over FCIAC opponents by the juggernaut Hatters (11-0), who won 11 of the night’s 14 matches.
The only victories by the Mustangs (11-2), ranked No. 7 in the latest state coaches poll, came in the 126-, 132-pound and heavyweight divisions.
Undefeated Danbury freshman Kevin Jack opened the match with a technical fall victory at 106 pounds, followed up by pinfall wins from Chris Bryant and Zach Tepper.
Warde attempted to make a match of it starting with Danny Almeida’s 3-0 decision at 126, before Pharoh Eaton (132) pinned Steven Beckman in five minutes.
That result closed the Mustangs to within 17-9, but the Hatters ripped off eight straight wins prior to Warde 285-pounder Mike Money remaining unbeaten with a 5-0 decision of Jevon Pegues.
“Our goal was to compete in every weight class,” Warde coach Jason Shaughnessy said. “Danbury is as good as advertised though. There were a couple of matches that didn’t go as we had hoped, and we’ll be fighting for No. 2 in the league. When we get to the end of the season, the goal is for each of our wrestled to reach their potential and hopefully we can do that.”
The featured match was a showdown at 195 pounds between 20-win seniors Tyler Hancock, of Danbury, and Joey Marx. Hancock overcame an early takedown to post an 8-3 victory.
In the most dramatic match of the evening, Danbury’s Anthony Cote used a deep single in overtime to pull out a 12-10 decision against Casey Stopa in what was a back-and-forth battle at 145 pounds.
“Our biggest strength is that we’re strong in all 14 weight classes, from top to bottom,” Cote said. “This was a good test for us, and I think we showed what kind of team we have this season.”