BROOKVILLE — Fending off another challenge from a District 9 Class AA contender, the Brookville Raiders wrestling team notched a 38-22 win over visiting Brockway Thursday night.
That’s 10-2 now for the Raiders, who rallied to beat Redbank Valley 33-28 last week. That trio along with Port Allegany will be gunning for this year’s dual team title in a few weeks.
So far, nobody has beaten Brookville, which hasn’t lost to a D9 foe on the mat in almost six years. But, even with two wins over two capable squads, Raiders head coach Dave Klepfer isn’t assuming anything in the postseason.
“They’re not going anywhere and there’s another one out there too,” Klepfer said, referring to the Bulldogs, Rovers and Port Allegany. “We’re fortunate to be where we’re at right now and everyone’s battling injuries. I’m just happy to come away with wins and at the end of the day, this didn’t get us to Hershey or the win over Redbank Valley last week. While they’re nice wins, it’s not our goal or what we’re shooting for.”
Prior to the match, the Raiders honored their state championship team from 1999, the first year of the PIAA’s Dual Meet Tournament.
“Overall as a team, I thought we wrestled very well,” Klepfer said. “It was an exciting night with a lot of the old guys back in the gym and I thought our guys were pretty amped up for the competition that was ahead of them. I feel like we delivered and wrestled pretty well.”
Against the Rovers, the Raiders trailed 13-7 after six bouts and following the Rovers’ Garrett McClintick’s 14-2 major decision over Nathan Taylor. But the Rovers chose to not send out heavyweight Hayden Thompson, forfeiting to state-ranked Colby Whitehill, then had no 106-pounder to wrestle Owen Reinsel.
With the Raiders leading 22-13, the Rovers’ Mark Palmer led 3-0 against Cayden Walter in their 113-pound matchup, but with 43 seconds left, Walter caught Palmer and pinned him.
“Cayden relaxed, Palmer got in on his legs and didn’t finish quick and Cayden is one of those kids who is a little bit unorthodox and will put you on your back different ways and that was one of the cases.” Klepfer said. “He caught his head down for a few seconds and came up big. That was a big pin.”
That pretty much sealed things for the Raiders even though the Rovers’ unbeaten Dom Inzana decked Josh Popson at 120. Parker Fleming’s 10-1 major over Garrett Park at 126 clinched the match at 32-19 with two bouts left.
The Rovers dropped to 9-2. They’ll visit Redbank Valley next Tuesday in what should be another key matchup in the Class AA playoff mix.
“I think we wrestled well tonight,” Rovers coach Eric Grecco said. “Coming into this gym, I thing we were the more offensive team and kept the pace going. We gave up a couple matches we could’ve won, but we did get a couple tight ones. Overall, I was pretty proud of our team effort.”
Santino Inzana got the Rovers started on the right foot with a 10-4 win over Cody Hetrick at 145 pounds. Jacob Cable’s escape with 58.6 seconds left in the third period was the only point of the bout at 160 against the Rovers’ Linkin Nichols.
Noah Bash came up with some late heroics for the Rovers at 160. Trailing 2-0 with time running out against Wyatt Griffin, Bash took advantage of Griffin riding him too high, popped out and reversed him and scored two back points before the buzzer rang for a rousing 4-2 win.
“We were hoping to score more points early, but we just had to keep fighting and dug down deep,” Grecco said. “That shows a lot of heart and guts to get that win, basically, with four seconds left, to come on top.”
The Raiders’ Elliot Park answered at 170, majoring Andrew Hickman 16-5 at 170 to put the Raiders up for the first time at 7-6. But Brockway took the next two bouts, starting with Eric Johnson’s 1-0 win over Braden MacBeth at 182. Johnson escaped 25 seconds into the third period and held off a late MacBeth shot to get the win. McClintick followed with his major at 195 before the Raiders reeled off four straight wins, ending with Walter’s come-from-behind pin over Palmer at 113.
“Palmer dominated the match for five minutes and got caught in a funky position and gets pinned. That’s a nine-point swing right there. So we know that we’ve closed the gap from years past and we’re looking forward to the next one.”
Anthony Glasl won the Rovers’ other bout at 132, turning in a 5-2 decision over the Raiders’ Cabe Park.
Wyatt Kulick set the final score for the Raiders at 138, pinning Jared Fremer in the second period.
Brookville visits St. Marys Tuesday before hosting the annual Johnson Motors Ultimate Duals next weekend.