“Overall, it wasn’t our best match.”
Those were the words Bellefonte coach Mike Maney used Tuesday night to describe his team’s 45-27 win over county-rival State College to ruin the Little Lions’ Senior Night. The win helped set a new program record with 19 wins.
One would wonder what the Red Raiders’ best match might look like.
On Tuesday night, they fell behind early but strung together six straight wins to rally. All six of those wins came with bonus points and Bellefonte held a 24-point lead.
“It has kind of been the secret all year as far as our team success is being able ot get bonus points especially through the middle,” Maney said. “We have three seniors in there — (Cameron) Coppolo, (Brock) Port and (Chase) Gardner and then (Lukas) McClure also a senior. Those guys we’ve kind of been relying on all year.”
Trailing 21-12, the Red Raiders (19-2) went to work on their rally.
Nate Wert and Keegan Rothrock stacked back-to-back falls at 126 and 132 pounds, respectively. Wert’s win came in 1:40 with Rothrock joining him in 2:43. After Rothrock’s win, Bellefonte claimed its first lead at 24-21.
Coppolo rode a five-point first period to an 11-0 major decision. Port tallied four takedowns, five near-fall points and received two stall points in an 18-3 technical fall in 5:27.
The rally came to a close with pins from Gardner and McClure in the exact same time — 4:42. Gardner led 12-3 at the time in his 152-pound bout. McClure was also in control of his match at 11-2. Once the comeback was complete, the Red Raiders led 45-21.
“We have some inexperienced guys at those weights there,” State College coach Ryan Cummings said. “They fought hard, that’s all we can ask. They did the best job they could.”
The Little Lions (7-11) won five of the first seven bouts. Cole Urbas started out with a fall in 53 seconds at 182 pounds. Pete Haffner followed two weights later with another pin in 4:37. It began a streak of three wins.
Kyle Engle used an escape and late takedown in the third period to top Max Mondy at 285 pounds. At the turn, Clayton Leidy used an early takedown in the first period and a reversal in the second period for a 4-1 win at 106 pounds. State College led 18-6.
Bellefonte’s Cole Stewart picked up an 11-second pin of Ben Krick at 113 pounds to Band-Aid the cut.
Jacob Pammer ripped the Band-Aid off with a 4-1 win over Ryan Smith at 120 pounds. Smith put together a solid ride in the second period to keep the match tied 0-0 going to the third. However, Pammer, who is one of 11 seniors on the team, used an even tougher ride in the third period. He turned Smith twice for two sets of two near-fall points.
“The starting point was a good spot for them to start,” Maney said about State College’s early lead. “Urbas is a tough kid. We were back and forth there a little bit. Once we got to (1)26, we were able to roll together some consecutive matches. We were able to put it away.”
Bellefonte’s dual meet season came to a close, and it shifts gears toward the postseason.
The Little Lions meanwhile have one more dual Thursday at Danville. They will then start focusing on the District 6 Class AAA tournament. Cummings felt Tuesday’s loss will help his team come postseason time.
“I think it helps just because we have to gut out a lot of those matches,” he said. “They are going to need that if they end up in a consy bracket or something. You need to be able to dig deep and fight hard to come back for third and all of that.”