BELLEFONTE — The Bellefonte wrestlers were raising Cain in the Red Raider gym Tuesday night after beating Philipsburg-Osceola 34-27 in the season-opening dual meet for both teams.
No, really, they were. When 195-pounder Toby Cain rallied to beat Mason Pryde 5-3 to secure the win, several of his teammates rushed onto the mat and raised him into the air to celebrate the win.
Thanks to the pre-meet draw, the 195-pound bout was the finale and the Raiders were clinging to a 31-27 lead. P-O needed a tech fall or pin for the win. Instead, Cain rallied from a 2-0 deficit with an escape to start the third period, and then took Pryde down with 12 seconds left, turning him for two back points at the buzzer to start the celebration.
“I felt the pressure,’’ Cain said. “I saw the opportunity (for the takedown) and I took it and it paid off. I feel great.’’
So did Raider coach Mike Maney.
“That was a great win for him,’’ he said of Cain. “ We had a little scouting report on him (Pryde). We knew he likes to go for the big moves so we told Toby to be smart, have some mat savvy and avoid the big moves and not make any big mistakes. He wrestled solid and did what he has been doing.
“ He comes to practice every day and works hard. He was below .500 as a sophomore, then was a little above it last year. He had a good summer this year and he’s looking for a big year. He got off to a great start tonight.’’
P-O got off to a great start in the dual meet as the Mounties bolted to a 15-0 lead, thanks to Nick Gray’s pin of Tim Benfer in 2:28 at 220, RJ Kephart’s forfeit win at 285 and Bryce Bennett’s hard-fought 3-2 win over Aaron Witherite at 106, thanks to a first-period takedown.
“That was the one bright spot for us tonight,’’ said Mountie coach Tim McCamley. “Bryce is tough. He’s good in all three positions.’’
Bellefonte got on the board at 113, when Luke Leathers decked Nathan Quick in 54 seconds to set up the premier bout of the evening between Bellefonte freshman Brock Port and P-O senior Chris Thompson.
Thompson struck first with a takedown at the 1:26 mark of the first period. But Port came back with an escape in 1:14 of the second, and took the lead with a takedown with 42 seconds left in the period. Port nailed down the win when he countered a Thompson takedown shot with 30 seconds left in the third period for the clinching takedown in a 5-2 victory.
“That was the turning point in the meet right there,’’ said McCamley. “When we lost that one we lost some momentum, lost our fire. Brock is really tough and he wrestled well. Chris got a little too loose and gave up some points where he really didn’t need to. Brock took advantage of Chris’s mistakes. Obviously he was ready for the competition,’’
“We knew 106 was going to be a tossup,’’ Maney said. “When we lost that one we knew we couldn’t afford to lose 120. We knew we were going up against a senior who had been around and had been successful. Brock gave up those early points but he stayed focused and was able to battle back and get the win.’’
The Raider’s rode the momentum from Port’s win to take the lead as Chase Gardner turned Levi Hughes for three points late in the third period for a 5-2 win at 126 and Trevor Corl majored Dakota Weitoish, 8-0 thanks to a takedown with two seconds to go to put Bellefonte on top, 16-15.
The Mounties bounced back as Caleb Shively beat Zack Musser, 6-0, getting out to a 4-0 lead with a first-period takedown and two back points and Scott Yarger followed with another 6-0 win as he scored on a takedown in the first period, near fall in the second and reversal in the third to beat Nate Rosenberger put the Mounties on top, 21-16.
Tanner Day cut into that lead as he beat Dallas Kephart, 8-2, hitting a headlock for five points in the second period to take control of the bout.
Dillon Kephart gave the Raiders the lead for good when he pinned Jake Anderson in 1:22 and Austin Cable decked Caleb Guy in 2:37 to make it 31-21.
Dennis Lumadue got the Mounties within striking distance when he pinned Brien McChesney in 1:26, taking him down into a spladle for the fall and setting up the dramatics in the last match.
“We didn’t wrestle well. We weren’t aggressive, didn’t have the killer instinct,’’ McCamley said. “We didn’t get bonus points when we could have. Bellefonte wrestled smart and I don’t think we went after the points when we should have. They exposed some of our problems tonight.’’
The Raiders, who had only two seniors in the starting lineup - Cable and Cain - will jump back into the fire this weekend when they compete in the King of the Mountain Tournament. P-O entertains a rugged Chestnut Ridge team Thursday at 7 p.m.