BROCKWAY— Sometimes, less is more.
That adage couldn’t have been closer to the truth Thursday night, when Brockway’s wrestling team had only five bouts to contest with against the Smethport Area Hubbers.
After nine announced forfeits, seven of which that went the Rovers’ way, Brockway held a sizable, 42-6 lead to start the night off with, and by the final grapples of the heavyweight’s match, Brockway walked away with a decisive 54-12 win.
Despite only contesting five matches during the night, Brockway took full advantage of their offerings and came away with three ‘W’s. Head coach Eric Grecco says that despite the shorter number of bouts, his team prepared for the night’s events like any other night.
“We try to approach every match the same way. We try not to look at our opponent, whether they’re better than us or whether they’re not better than us,” Grecco said about the unusual circumstances of the night. “We told the kids ahead of time ‘There’s going to be five matches, you five got to get ready to wrestle,’ and the rest of the kids still have to warm-up like they’re going to wrestle.
“You got to keep that good atmosphere going, so that’s how we go about that.”
The atmosphere to kick night’s event off was quieter and slower than usual for the two teams. After the announcements of the forfeits, including a double-forfeit at 152, things officially began at 170, where Brockway’s Erik Botwright contended with Smethport’s Jacob Dunkle.
A slow, scoreless first period gave way to a more competitive second, where Dunkle escaped twice out of Botwright’s hold to make it 2-2 between the two competitors. Dunkle would score a take-down at the end of the second to go up 4-2, and a final lock on Botwright gave Dunkle the 6-4 decision.
Smethport found themselves on the winning side again at 182, where Akete Kindle outlasted Garrett McClintick 6-5, shortening the Brockway lead to 42-12 and setting up a potential scoring streak for the Hubbers.
However, the Rovers would see to it that their 30-point lead remained intact.
After a highly competitive first two periods that saw Brockway’s Pierce Yahner take a 1-0 lead, Smethport’s Matthew Stratton reversed Yahner’s initial hold to edge over 2-1. But at the end of the third, Yahner came in at the clutch and scored a near fall to earn a 3-2 decision and a 45-12 Brockway lead.
At 220, Mark Latuska led Shayne Westfall for two periods 5-1 before pinning him in the third to increase the Rover lead to 51-12.
Finally, Hayden Thompson had a clinic during the 285-pound bout, taking down opponent Brendon Dickinson before scoring a near fall at the end of the first period to go up 5-0. An escape in the third notched Thompson another point as well as a 6-0 win. With the victory, Brockway would cruise on to win 54-12.
Even with so few matches being held, Grecco is proud of his squad’s accomplishments and sees the victories as steps in the right direction.
“I’m really happy with Hayden Thompson, picking up a 6-0 win against a pretty good opponent at the heavyweight spot,” Grecco said. “Then Mark going out there and being able to get that pin in the third period was a good win. Pierce Yahner against a pretty even-kid and picking up a 1-point win was pretty good as well, so that was something that we definitely benefitted from.”
At the end of the night, Brockway came away with one pin, two decisions, and seven forfeits, and though the win was important, Grecco also says that improvements can always be made.
“We definitely can improve,” Grecco said. “We got to get more offense on our feet, start taking some more shots, especially early on in the match. We’re not taking enough fakes and enough shots on our feet. So, we do that, and we’ll be pretty good moving forward.”
Brockway will take a five-day break before hitting the road to face Cranberry next Wednesday.