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138-pound Giovanni Scafidi at Howell High School Joe Inamorata of Philipsburg was brought out on the carpet during the NJSIAA Group V final on February 13 in Franklin. Philipsburg defeated Howell 51-8. STEVEN BASSIN / STAFF

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The 157-pound 157-pound Howell High School athlete knocks Phillipsburg’s Hunter Cleaver to the carpet during the NJSIAA Group V final on February 13 in Franklin. Akke lost the main decision 15-7. STEVEN BASSIN / STAFF

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113-pound Xavier Ortega at Howell High School killed Miguel Lopez of Philipsburg during the NJSIAA Group V final on February 13 in Franklin. Ortega won the match by a 12-2 decision. STEVEN BASSIN / STAFF

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126-pound Sawyer Ostraf at Howell High School won against James Day of Philipsburg during the NJSIAA Group V final on February 13 in Franklin. Ostrof lost the match 5-4. STEVEN BASSIN / STAFF


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138-pound Giovanni Scafidi at Howell High School Joe Inamorata of Philipsburg was brought out on the carpet during the NJSIAA Group V final on February 13 in Franklin. Philipsburg defeated Howell 51-8. STEVEN BASSIN / STAFF

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The 157-pound 157-pound Howell High School athlete knocks Phillipsburg’s Hunter Cleaver to the carpet during the NJSIAA Group V final on February 13 in Franklin. Akke lost the main decision 15-7. STEVEN BASSIN / STAFF

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113-pound Xavier Ortega at Howell High School killed Miguel Lopez of Philipsburg during the NJSIAA Group V final on February 13 in Franklin. Ortega won the match by a 12-2 decision. STEVEN BASSIN / STAFF

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126-pound Sawyer Ostraf at Howell High School won against James Day of Philipsburg during the NJSIAA Group V final on February 13 in Franklin. Ostrof lost the match 5-4. STEVEN BASSIN / STAFF


Howell High School wrestling team and coach John Galliano won their fifth team title at the NJSIAA State Sectional Tournament in eight years on Feb. 9 in Howell against Hunterdan Flemington Central Regional High School.

138-pound sophomore Giovanni Scafidi pressed Henry Wilkinson of Hunterdon Central in the final match of the championship to raise the Rebels from a 26-25 deficit to a 31-26 victory over the Red Devils.

The victory over Hunterdon Central led Rebels to the semifinals of the Group V team tournament and to a match against Livingston High School on 11 February in Howell.

The rebels overcame Livingston 41-18 to get a ticket to their first state team championship match since 2018.

The Group V final met with Howell vs. Philipsburg High School on Feb. 13 at Franklin High School in Franklin, Somerset. Howell was seeking his third state team title.

Philipsburg took control of the final from the start and defeated the Rebels 51-8 and became the state team champions of Group V. The Steatliner won 12 of 14 matches.

Xavier Ortega (113) and Hunter Mace (165) became the two winners of the “rebels” in the final of Group V. Each grapple won his fight with an important decision.

Howell finished the 2021-22 season with a record in two 22-5 meetings.

“We are happy to win our (state) section, but we want to win everything and it was in the cards,” Galliano said after the Group V final. We had a good season. We won our section. We need to bounce back and prepare for individuals. ”

After the team part of the season is over, the rebels will be preparing for individual tournaments that will begin with district competitions this week. Regional and state tournaments will take place after the districts.

Mace is leading a group of candidates for the Howell State Tournament this season after winning the 160-pound state championship in 2020-21. Senior – 29-1 this season.

Xavier Ortega along with his brother Sebastian Ortega (120), senior Nick Ake (157) and DJ Henry (175) will also have the opportunity to stay in the postseason, Galliano said.

“We have guys who can run well if they stay healthy and keep working hard,” the coach said.

The rebels will compete in the District 22 tournament at Robinsville High School in Mercer County later this week.

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