BROOKVILLE — In what turned out to be an entertaining tuneup for next week’s annual trip to the Powerade Invitational, the Brookville wrestling team squared off against Western New York powerhouse Falconer.
Perhaps the match was closer than the score indicated as the now 8-0 Raiders dumped the Golden Falcons, 50-16, Thursday night at home. Or maybe it wasn’t. They won 11 of 14 bouts, scoring bonus points in six wins and taking all of the close matchups.
Falconer, which came in 11-0 with seven wrestlers over 20 bouts already due largely to New York’s season starting a week earlier than here, managed just three takedowns all night. The Golden Falcons are the top-ranked small school team in the Western New York rankings.
“We pretty much preached over the last few days that this team was solid, and they were,” Raiders head coach Dave Klepfer said. “You look back at some of the scores in the early bouts. I told their coach that the match was closer than the scoreboard showed. We scored too many bonus points in matches and that killed them, but they are a pretty nice team and we brought our ‘A’ game. That was as good as we could’ve wrestled.”
With the match starting at 160, the Raiders won four hard-fought decisions against four Falconer wrestlers with a combined record of 71-8.
Returning state medalist Caleb Hetrick improved to 8-0 with a 3-0 shutout of senior Cameron Page, scoring the opening takedown and escaping in the third period when Page cut him loose. Hetrick rode out Page in the second period and dropped Page, the No. 2-ranked 160-pounder in their region, to 18-2.
Clayton Peace caught 17-3 Dan Torres on a five-point move to start their bout at 170 and beat him 6-3, while Noah Cieleski notched a 13-0 major decision over Robbie Penhollow at 182, where Falconer was without innured returning New York state champ Jacob Peru.
Xavier Molnar followed at 195 and handed Corey Keefe his first loss of the year in a 6-3 decision.
“Obviously, 160 was a big-time matchup with one of their best kids,” Klepfer said. “Caleb grinded out a win. You ride somebody out and it’s like putting a point on the board for you and Xavier beat an undefeated kid. Those were big-time wins.”
But, Klepfer said that the momentum didn’t necessarily start with Hetrick’s impressive win. The Raiders notched three pins in junior varsity bouts with Brodie Joiner, Braden MacBeth and Tyler Park.
“We talked on the stairs before we went out and I said, ‘Fellas, this isn’t all about the 14 varsity guys. These three JV guys, if they can get the ball rolling downhill for us, we’re a tough team to beat when it starts moving.’ I really stressed to those three that it’s important to perform well so it gets us off to a good start.”
Tyler Cook and Tanner LaBenne continued the surge with first-period pins at 220 and heavyweight to put the Raiders up 25-0 before Falconer’s Jacob Payne’s second-period pin of Parker Fleming put the visitors on the board.
Brothers Cabe and Gavin Park had pins at 113 and 126 sandwiched around Falconer’s win at 120 where sophomore Jimmy Kramer majored Keelan Kunselman, 11-2.
Kai Sorbin bulldozed Nick Saeger, 18-5 coming into the night, at 132 with a 17-0 technical fall with 17 seconds left in the second period.
Dontae Constable made it two straight technical falls for the Raiders at 138 with the same score but taking a little longer, finishing things on Dexter Ormond with 19 seconds left in the bout.
Jacob Cable closed out the Raiders’ scoring with a 3-2 win over Nate Abbey, getting the bout-opening takedown in the first period and escaping in the third period to set the final score. Cable fended off a late Abbey takedown attempt, a classic trademark of the Raiders lately.
“Credit to Jake, he got the takedown when he needed it, but he took one shot the whole match and scored,” Klepfer said. “We were saying he was up 3-2 with a minute to go and to not be content with that and don’t let him have a chance at getting the lead. Stay after his legs and see what happens.”
Dylan Ingrao set the final for Falconer, pinning Raiders backup Bryce Walter in the first period at 152.
Klepfer was happy with the results against a new and strong opponent and his team rose to the occasion, setting up next week’s trip to the Powerade at Canon MacMillan High School. The JV tournament is Wednesday with the varsity tournament scheduled for next Thursday and Friday.
“The whole group for the most part — and there were a couple letdowns — brought it tonight and if we continue to do that, we’re going to be tough to beat,” Klepfer said. “That’s what we needed. We wrestled well against Ridgway, so we’re getting there early in the season and have some young guys still getting their feet wet.
So, it was a good first month of the season to get geared up for the tough run.”