BROCKWAY — Brookville and Brockway both entered Thursday night’s matchup missing starters and split the eight bouts contested on the mat, but it was the visiting Raiders who came away with a 45-32 victory thanks in large part to a 4-2 edge in forfeit wins.
The match saw two huge wins before the final couple bouts ultimately decided the winner. Brookville jumped out to a 30-0 lead with five straight wins only to see Brockway win five of the ensuing six bouts to pull within six points at 33-27.
Brookville junior Elliot Park then sealed the Raiders’ victory when pinned Weston Smith in 1:02 at 182 pounds. Park’s fall put Brookville up 12 points knowing it had a forfeit win in hand from Nathan Taylor in the final bout at 220.
In between those late Raider bonus-point wins, Brockway senior Eric Johnson tech falled Raider sophomore Bryce Rafferty, 17-2 in 5:49, to help set the final 13-point margin.
Brookville finished the night with an 8-6 advantage in bouts and won the eight contested bouts by a slim one-point margin (21-20) in regards to the team scoring.
“It’s that time of the year where everyone is kind of banged up, and we’re going through it like everyone else. We’re no different,” said Brookville coach Dave Klepfer. “But, we found a way tonight. We’re plugging guys in certain spots and some younger guys are getting matches they didn’t necessarily think they would be at the beginning of the year.
“They’re stepping in and competing hard, we’re just making some young mistakes in some matches. We’re going to keep on plugging trying to get healthy. One of keys has been the bonus points, and it’s something we stress daily. We’re always talking about bonus points and saving points. We have our hammers and are strong down low and up top of course .
“There were some forfeits in those weights tonight and a lot of the bouts were contested in the middle. I think that was probably good for both teams. There were some good bouts, and those are matches that are good for all the kids. They got a couple (wins) and we got a couple.”
Reigning Class 2A heavyweight state champion Colby Whitehill opened the match with a first-period fall, although Brockway freshman Gavin Thompson battled the Raider deep into the period before he got the fall in 1:51. Whitehill led 6-2 at the time.
Teammates Logan Oakes (106), Cayden Walter (113) and Brayden Kunselman (120) all followed with forfeit wins, while Raider Owen Reinsel decked Adam Stine in 31 seconds at 126 to put Brookville up 30-0.
Brockway, wrestling for the first since competing at the Sharpsville Duals on Dec. 12, finally got on the scoreboard at 132 where senior Anthony Glasl pinned Josh Popson in 1:32. Glasl led 7-1 at time of the fall on the strength of two takedowns and a set of backpoints.
Garret Park made it two wins in a row for the Rovers as he pulled out a hard-fought 6-0 win vs. Coyha Brown at 138.
Park opened the scoring on a first-period takedown, then put Brown on his back for two nearfall points late in the period to lead 4-0 after one. Brown chose bottom in the second but never got out as Park rode him the entire two minutes.
The Rover elected bottom in the third and quickly reversed Brown to go up 6-0. Park rode out Brown the rest of the period but couldn’t turn him for possible nearfall points to earn an extra team point.
Brockway’s run of wins continued at 145, where junior Tanner Morelli pinned Darius Sorbin in 1:50. Morelli took down the Raider 36 seconds in and worked for the fall from the top position the rest of the period.
Brookville halted the Rovers’ run there, as Wyatt Kulik pulled out a tight 2-0 victory at 152 to put his team up 33-15. The bout went to the third scoreless after Kulik rode out Nichols in the second period.
The Raider started down in the third and struggled to get out from under Nichols as the math went to the final minute still scoreless. However, the Rover was called for interlocking as he took Kulik back down to the mat during a flurry with 38 seconds left.
Trailing 1-0, Nichols had no choice but to let Kulik up on the restart in hopes of scoring a takedown to tie things up. But, Kulik held off the Rover on his feet in the final 30-plus seconds to collect the win.
Brockway then got a pair of forfeit wins from Noah Bash (160) and Seth Stewart (170) to get within six points at 33-27. That set the stage for Elliot Park’s first-period fall at 182 that sealed the win in the closing sequence on matchups.
“I’m pretty pleased overall,” said Brockway coach Eric Grecco. “We really haven’t been in action since the Sharpsville Duals on Dec. 21. So, that was a long layoff and we were a little worried about coming out flat and not doing as well as far as our conditioning. But, the kids were conditioned and staying in goods position and doing what we’re teaching them. So, we were pretty pleased with that dual meet effort.
“Tanner (Morelli) came out and was aggressive and to get that first-period pin on that type of kid was a good win for him. And Garret Park, he had a solid match tonight. We were hoping to get the major decision, but none-the-less he shut his opponent out and stayed in good position most of the match. And, we liked the aggression we saw out of him.”
Brookville (15-0) hosts St. Marys on Tuesday, while Brockway (6-4) travels to Mid-Winter Mayhem Tournament this weekend at IUP.