CURWENSVILLE — Things got off to a good start for Curwensville on Friday night against visiting Johnsonburg.
The Tide were able to make a move to put them in a spot to win, even though they had to do it earlier than expected, but the Rams were able to take the bonus points battle to come away with the 42-33 victory in Patton Hall.
“It made us show our hand right off the bat,” said Tide head coach Dean Swatsworth. “We got the flip and we got what we needed, we just didn’t win the matches we needed to make it happen tonight.
“The kids went out and wrestled. We don’t have a lot of them, but they come out every day and they work hard. They come out and they give the best effort they possibly can to win the match.”
The match started at 220, where Curwensville planned to bump up Alec McGarry from 195. The Tide sent McGarry out, throwing off the Rams who were expecting a McGarry-Matt Berger matchup at 195, and they forfeited.
Curwensville got another forfeit at 285, as Gage Roos bumped up to give the Tide a 12-0 advantage.
“We were hoping to get a different matchup there at 220,” said Johnsonburg head coach Mike Votano. “We won the toss, but they made a move I wasn’t anticipating, so that started the match off a little differently than we expected.”
The Rams got on the scoreboard at 106, as Derek Peterson downed Jacob Carfley 5-1, thanks to a first-period takedown and three third-period nearfall points.
“Derek had a really nice win,” said Votano. “He had lost 4-2 earlier in the season to Carfley and I was really happy with the way he wrestled tonight. He wrestled with a lot of fire and came away with the win. That’s probably the best match he has wrestled all season.”
The teams traded forfeits at 113 and 120, where the Tide’s Spencer Hoover and the Rams’ Cole Norlin each got their hand raised.
At 126, Curwensville’s Blake Passarelli built up a 9-2 lead on Johnsonburg’s Caden Smiley before pinning him in 1:59.
The Rams picked up forfeit wins at 132 and 138, cutting the Tide’s lead to 24-21.
Johnsonburg got a big win and valuable bonus points at 145 as Cameron Marciniak pinned Adam Straw in 2:35 after taking a 4-1 lead into the second period. Marciniak reversed Straw quickly in the second and got him on his back for the fall.
“Cameron went up to 145 tonight and he wrestled really well. He got the bonus points for us, which we were needing. We knew this match would be coming down to the bonus points and he collected that pin. He is wrestling really well.”
The Rams added even more bonus points in the bout at 152, as Cole Casilio garnered a 16-1 technical fall over Duane Brady in 4:55.
“That was a crucial part of the match,” Votano said. “Cole went out there and scored points and was able to get us more bonus points with the technical.”
That put Johnsonburg up 32-24 with just three bouts left to be wrestled on the mat.
“We can’t give them big pins,” said Swatsworth. “We preach to the kids about getting bonus points, but you have to look at the flip side and you can’t give bonus points. We are getting better. We are young, we only have two seniors. But they have all wrestled before so they know how to wrestle. We just have to find our groove and get in and keep wrestling.”
The Rams continued to be aggressive on the mat, getting a 12-1 major decision from Isaac Zimmerman at 160 pounds over Cole Bressler at 160. Zimmerman had previously beaten Bressler 4-2 earlier in the season.
At 170, Curwensville forfeited to Tyler Watts, to bump Jake McCracken to 182.
McCracken faced off against Christian Krug and took an early lead. The Tide sophomore led 4-1 after two before scoring nine points in the third period en route to a fall in 5:53.
Curwensville’s Nick Holbert faced off against Berger in the final bout of the night with the match locked up for the Rams.
After a scoreless first period, Berger garnered an escape in the second period to take the 1-0 lead.
But a takedown by Holbert with 2.9 seconds left in the period gave him a 2-1 advantage.
Holbert chose down to start the third and quickly got an escape to make it 3-1. Berger continued to shoot in on Holbert and eventually got a takedown with 35 seconds left in the match.
But an interlocking call late, allowed Holbert to take the 4-3 victory.
“We wanted that matchup,” Swatsworth said. “We knew it would be good even though Holbert was giving up some weight. He wrestled hard and we knew the Johnsonburg kid was a decent wrestler, so it was nice to see him get a win here in front of the crowd.”
Curwensville fell to 2-6 overall.
The Tide head to Punxsutawney on Monday.
“It was a very nice team win,” Votano said. “This match could’ve went either way, but our kids collected the bonus points and were able to pull away.”
Johnsonburg improved to 8-3 overall. The Rams travel to Brookville on Jan. 22.