BROOKVILLE — Coming off busy weekend tournaments and needing to work out on New Years Day, Tuesday’s wrestling matchup between Brookville and Redbank Valley was dreadful for one team.
Redbank Valley was the last District 9 team to beat the Raiders on the mat at the end of the 2013 season and nobody has come close since. Tuesday was no exception as the Raiders notched a 65-3 rout of the Bulldogs.
Everything went right for the Raiders, who improved to 9-1 with a week off until next Tuesday’s home match with Curwensville. They scored seven pins, took two forfeits and won all but one of the closely fought bouts.
“We had a long weekend and a lot of bouts and I wasn’t sure how’d we be with only one practice,” Raiders head coach Dave Klepfer said. “You always know Redbank Valley is going to come in and fight and scratch to the last whistle. They have some scrappy kids and I thought we wrestled pretty well for the most part.”
The big wins came in the lightweights where sophomore Parker Fleming, down 10-0 after two periods and nearly getting pinned in the first period, rallied to pin Bulldogs junior Mason Songer with 21 seconds left in the bout.
Songer slapped on two five-pointers in each of the first two periods, but Fleming started the third period on top and started to work his will on Songer, starting the rally with three nearfall points and as the period went on, it became evident that Fleming was on to something.
“We got into our best position,” Klepfer said. “Top is Parker’s best position and he knew it was his chance. He was beaten in the other positions and he had to make the most of it.”
A flurry near the end of the pinning sequence gave Fleming an opening to end the bout with a loud gymnasium screaming behind him. Fleming won the Clint Puller Memorial Award for the Raiders’ outstanding wrestler of the match.
“He really should’ve put Parker on his back and held him there to finish the match but he slipped his arm and posted and Parker did a good job of bridging out and catching him there,” Klepfer said. “We were a little bit lucky he made the mistake at the end and credit to Parker. It’d be easy to not keep working being down 10-0. Songer is a physical kid, but I don’t think Parker was ready to wrestle at the beginning either. Hopefully we learn from that.”
That put the Raiders up 53-3 with three bouts left. Prior to Fleming’s dramatic win at 113, freshman Cayden Walter looked strong and led from start to finish in an 11-7 win over Bulldogs freshman Trenten Rupp. Walter had never beaten Rupp coming up through the feeder system.
“That was a big-time win,” Klepfer said. “He’s lost to Rupp every time they’ve wrestled coming up through. We talked a lot about getting in the room to prepare and trusting the system and your practice partner. Cayden was ready to scrap and he is going to come at you trying to score points.
“He gave up a four-pointer in the third, but other than that, it was pretty much Cayden and that’s a big match for district seeding.”
Cabe Park and Kai Sorbin finished the evening out with solid wins against two of the better Bulldogs. Park got a takedown with 14 seconds left in a 7-5 win over Brayden Altobelli at 120 while Sorbin blanked Hunter Martz, 7-0 at 126. The Bulldogs forfeited at 132 to set the final score.
Early on, the Raiders got rolling quickly as Jacob Cable broke a 1-1 tie with a takdown in the first overtime period with 25 seconds on the clock to win 3-1 at 145. Freshman Wyatt Griffin picked up his second career varsity win at 152 with a second-period pin of Noah Anderson.
“Wyatt works extremely hard and puts the time in,” Klepfer said. “He got an opportunity tonight, so we’re to the point where we can plug in kids when our starters aren’t available.”
One of the Raiders’ newest 100-win wrestlers hiked his total to 103 as Caleb Hetrick won a 16-1 technical fall over Bryan Layton at 160. Braden MacBeth cradled Hudson Martz into a pin in 1:36 at 170 to put the Raiders up 26-0 after five bouts.
The Bulldogs’ lone win came in a tossup bout at 182 where Kobe Bonnano rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the third period for a 3-2 decision over fellow freshman Nathan Taylor. Bonanno picked up a penalty point when Taylor was called for fleeing the mat, then Bonanno reversed him with 59 seconds on the clock for the one-point win.
But that was it for the Bulldogs, who made some noise in a couple other bouts but couldn’t convert enough into wins. At 195, Xavier Molnar dueled with Bulldogs senior Logan Minich and led 6-5 before a quick flurry late in the second period left Minich on his back for a Molnar pin in 3:24.
The Raiders’ other new 100-win wrestler Tyler Cook upped his total to 102 when he pinned freshman Aiden Gardner with three seconds left in the bout. Cook was up 11-0 when Gardner took advantage of an aggressive Cook and reversed him for four points in the second period. It was 15-5 when Cook got Gardner to his back late.
Colby Whitehill didn’t take long to pin freshman Owen Shaffer, just 23 seconds to give the Raiders a 44-3 advantage going into the handful of competitive lightweight bouts.
“The scoreboard might have said otherwise, but we made a lot of mistakes tonight,” Klepfer said. “There are things we need to clean up and for some, it’s more of a match approach rather than technical stuff. We’ll work on it and clean it up.
“Obviously, you win by 62 points you’re pretty happy with the win.”
The Bulldogs (5-2) are also off until next Tuesday when they host Punxsutawney.