When Philipsburg-Osceola and Penns Valley tangle on the mats, you expect it to turn into an old-fashioned barnburner.
Holding true to form Tuesday night on the Ram mats, the two squads went toe-to-toe, battling it out through six lead changes until the Mounties walked away with a hard-fought 38-30 victory.
“We just can’t allow ourselves to be put on our backs that easily and give up that many bonus points,” said Penns Valley coach Joel Brinker. “It was a good match, but it is what it is. Both teams are trying to find themselves and we just came up on the short end.”
While the bonus points via the forfeits, technical falls and pinfalls more or less canceled themselves, a close look at the summary might indicate that the turning point for the Mounties was in the two matches decided by a single point. They won both of them with Nick Patrick edging Andrew Hurd at 160 and Noah Quick’s 2-1 triumph over Jared Bressler at 120. Dakota Weitosh also earned a 6-0 decision over Jacob Confer at 138.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it,” said P-O head coach Tim McCamley. “There were a lot of falls and tech falls, but in the end, it came down to the real close matches. We had a lot of really green wrestlers out there, but it came down to the experienced wrestlers like (Nick) Patrick at 160 and (Dakota) Weitosh at 138. Those are the matches that won it for us.”
As for Brinker and his Rams, the two additional pounds allowance can’t come along soon enough.
“I think when we get the two pounds we will be able to spread our lineup out a little bit in January,” said Brinker. “Right now, we have seven 132-pounders so trying to fill all those weights through the middle is tough. We are getting some leadership from the seniors and hopefully down the road we’ll get there.”
So what can the Rams take from the loss back to the wrestling room to improve on?
“It is what it is and it comes down to experience,” Brinker said. “All we can do is go back and continue to work hard to get better each time we step on the mat. One thing we have to do is eliminate a lot of the errors we are making, but eventually we’ll do that.”
After a disappointing loss to Bellefonte last week, McCamley is hoping that the victory over the Rams can propel his team to bigger and better things.
“We have a long way to go because it seems like every week we have a brand new lineup,” McCamley said. “We have a really tough schedule ahead of us with Huntingdon and Chestnut Ridge back-to-back. A good thing is that we are getting guys down to the weight where they belong and I think you’ll see us get a lot better as the season goes along. We only have one senior in the lineup and tonight he wrestled two weight classes above where he should be.”
Picking up the bonus points for the Mounties with pins were Clint Rudy at 170, Joe Bickel at 182 and Ed Voyzey at 285. Bryce Bennett (126) added a technical fall, a 17-1 romp in 4:00. Matt Johnson (120) won by forfeit.
For the Rams, their two King of the Mountain medalists Curtis Decker (132) and Corey Hazel (195) registered falls as did Jared Hurd (145) and Isaac Bierly (152). Darren Yearick (106) wom by forfeit.
The falls by Hurd and Bierly catapulted the Rams into their biggest lead of the match at 24-14 before the Mounties won five of the final six bouts, outscoring their hosts by a 24-6 margin down the stretch for the win. Quick’s decision gave P-O the lead at 32-30 before Voyzey closed it out with a pin of Lucas Sharer in 1:34.
The Rams will next see action Saturday in a dual meet with West Branch, while the Mounties will tangle with a tough Huntingdon squad Thursday night.