January 21, 2010


Opening pin triggers Trojans

Homer grabs momentum en route to win over CHS


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer’s James Cochran tries to turn Cortland High’s Garrett Morse during Wednesday’s crucial 171-pound match. Cochran pulled out an 8-5 decision as the Trojans prevailed on CHS mats, 33-20.

Staff Writer

It didn’t take long for the pivotal match in Wednesday night’s OHSL Freedom Division wrestling match between visiting Homer Central and Cortland High to take place.
In fact it happened first at Shafer Gymnasium, as the Trojans’ Jonathan Cottrell pinned Frank Davenport in 3:35 in a 125-pound battle of freshmen. With the hosts having to forfeit the final two weight classes, 112 and 119, that in effect gave Coach Jeff Lewis’s squad a quick 18-point advantage that it never relinquished in scoring a 33-20 victory — its second over the Purple Tigers this season.
“There were two huge matches,” said Lewis, his team having finished 3-2 in the league and now 18-7 overall, tying the school record for wins in a season set by the 2002-03 squad, which went 18-3. “The 125-pound match was a great way to start. They were already down 18 after that, and momentum is everything in wrestling. I knew it was going to be a barn-burner from the get-go. I didn’t see much difference between the teams, and a swing like that is huge.
“The 171-pound match went against us the last time,” he added, referring to a 33-31 Trojan victory in Cortland’s season-opening dual-meet tournament. “To get the win there was huge.”
“At the start of the match I had to feel the guy out a little and get comfortable in the atmosphere,” Cottrell said, having improved to 5-8 with two pins. “He got me on my back a couple of times, but I was able to get out and catch him in a half-nelson. It was a good first match. It got the team going and set the tone for the match.”
“We needed that one,” Purple Tigers coach Dave Darrow said, his team now 2-2 in the league and 7-6 overall. “Frank worked hard, but he was nervous. We didn’t start off well.”
Purple Tigers junior Garret Morse had beaten James Cochran 3-1 at 171 the first time the two teams met, and was leading by 5-3 late this time around before the Trojan senior, now 18-10-4, was able to get a late reversal and three back points for an 8-5 lead that gave his squad a 15-12 lead before the forfeits were figured in. Morse is now 20-5 on the season.
“I think I tired him out,” Cochran said. “I kept going at it. That’s what all Homer’s guys do. We have good technique and good conditioning.”
“Garret has had some concussion problems — he suffered two of them during football season — and it wasn’t like him,” Darrow said, Morse attended to on the mat for a few minutes afterwards before getting up. “He was up by two with 12 seconds left, and at the end he didn’t know where he was. But don’t take anything away from their guy. He wrestled well.”
HOMER SENIOR RYAN Murray followed that up by taking just 1:42 to pin CHS’s Antonio Bustamante at 189, clinching the win for the visitors while upping his personal mark to 20-8 with 13 pins.
The hosts’ Cody Hartmann scored an 11-3 decision over Homer senior Carter O’Gorman at 215 and is now 18-2 this winter, and Cortland freshman Zach Alexander is now 15-9 after a 16-2 major decision over the Trojans’ Matt DeWitt, also a freshman, at 103 in a match that saw the visitor do an excellent job of avoiding a pin in at least three different instances. That made it 21-20 for Homer before forfeits went to Homer sophomore Bobby Chambrone at 112 and junior Hugh Kiernan at 119 to account for the final margin.
Cortland got some momentum of its own going by winning the next four weight classes after Cottrell’s opening victory.
Senior Eric Reisweber (22-3) was a 14-5 major-decision winner over freshman Nick Petrie, and senior Jason DeGouff outscored fellow upperclassman Ben McBride at 135 and improved to 14-10. Sophomore Anthony Stento (6-11) was a 9-4 win over freshman Eric Metzger at 140, and at 145 junior Tyler Thayer beat freshman Mark Dove 11-7 to make it 12-6 for the hosts after being docked a team point for lowering the straps of his singlet before leaving the mat.
Homer then won the next two matches leading up to Cochran’s dramatic victory. Senior John McCall (13-10 was a 4-0 winner over freshman Hunter Brandon, and senior Nate Crawford (22-3) beat Luke Bush 6-4 at 160.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been able to come in here and get two wins in a season,” Lewis said. “Cortland’s is young, like we were last year. Our kids work hard and get better as time goes on, and so do theirs. When Cortland had us on our backs we fought it off, and that was probably tell-tale.
“We’ve had some guys battling the flu lately — Carter wasn’t feeling good — and only took six guys to the Cazenovia Tournament last weekend.”
“Hard work and dedication have done it for us this season,” Cottrell said of the Trojans’ success. “There are a lot of older guys on the team who have helped us younger guys learn what we need to know.”
“WE HAVE A FULL lineup this year, which helps,” Cochran said with a laugh. “There’s a lot of young talent and a lot of seniors, which has helped us this season and will help next season, too.”
“When you spot a team 12 points, you have to wrestle perfectly,” Darrow said. “We won six matches, and I thought we could have won eight. It’s like trying to beat the spread in football. You have to take chances you normally wouldn’t; no excuses, that’s just the way you have to do it.”
Cortland faces Dryden Friday in a non-league match at Cornell starting at 4 p.m. and will then compete in the Minisink Valley Tournament on Saturday. Homer was to visit Marathon in a 6 p.m. non-leaguer today looking to set a new single-season wins record for the program.
Cortland won three of the five exhibition matches Wednesday night. Jordan Bowers pinned Anthony Pilcher in 3:05 at 135, while in a pair of 215-pound matches Jon Cepeda scored a 14-2 major decision over Zephan Kash and Andy Price pinned David Kiernan in 2:27.
Homer’s wins came at 171, where Ken Ensign pinned Mark Phelps in 1:58, and 285, Adam Gordon with a 13-4 major decision over Paul Turco.