December 3, 2009
Homer pulls out home opener with comeback
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
John McCall of Homer Central battles his slipping head gear along with Chittenango opponent Dan Naugle in the 160-pound bout in Wednesday’s OHSL Freedom Division match. McCall won by decision in the Trojans’ 33-28 victory.
It was an exciting way for Homer Central to kick off the home portion of OHSL Freedom Division wrestling schedule.
A crucial 3-2 decision, followed by a pin by one of the senior leaders, allowed the Trojans to overcome an early 28-6 hole Wednesday and defeat Chittenango 33-28 in the league opener for both teams. It was the season-opener for the Bears, while the Trojans improve to 4-1 overall.
With the action starting at 215 pounds, Chittenango coach Curt Kielbasa opted to not forfeit to first-year Trojan senior Carter O’Gorman and bumped Zach Graham up from 189 to 215. O’Gorman gave Homer the first points of the night as he quickly pinned Graham in 31 seconds.
It was a night to compete that O’Gorman didn’t expect, but took advantage to improve to 4-1 on the season.
“I wasn’t expecting to wrestle, so it was a surprise,” O’Gorman said. “I really didn’t have time to prepare, but it didn’t matter. Maybe it is better to not be aware of a match.”
While O’Gorman is a first-year wrestler, he has had some valuable training.
“I have been doing karate so that has helped,” he explained. “Ryan Murray has been helping me this year as have Coach (Jeff) Lewis) and Coach (Chris) DeMarco. I really didn’t know what to expect as a wrestler, but I knew that I didn’t want to lose.”
Chittenango responded with six straight wins to take the lead. Cody Carbery won a 13-4 major decision over Matt DeWitt at 103, but could not pin the Trojan freshman on three different occasions, the first key moment of the overall match.
Gunnar Brooks (112), Brad Phelps (119) and Rudy Farsaci (125) recorded pins for the Bears and Wesley Blanding scored an 11-5 decision at 135.
The next turning point came at 140 when John Regan posted a 14-7 decision over Trojan Nick Petrie, but it was another case of missing a change to pin his foe three times during the match. Crucial points that would haunt the visitors.
Ben McBride got the momentum headed back to the Trojans, who knew they had six points in the final bout at 189 when Murray would receive his forfeit. McBride got a crucial takedown in the third period for an 8-4 lead and posted the 8-5 victory to improve to 4-1 on the season.
NEXT WAS THE best match of the night at 145 pounds. Trailing 2-0 after a penalty point and escape by Nic Bacon in the second period, Trojan freshman Mark Dove rallied in the third period for a 3-2 win to improve to 4-1 on the season. Dove got a one-point escape and then scored the winning two-point takedown to secure his victory.
“I’m not surprised at how well I am doing, but I really am doing better than I expected,” Dove said. “Working hard in practice as really paid off for me. The seniors have all been a big help as well because they have been through all of this before.”
As for the pressure of needing a win for the team?
“I don’t like to think that the pressure is on me,” he replied. “All the guys all the team really had a hand in our win.”
Next up was fifth-year senior Nate Crawford. Crawford needed just 65 seconds to improve to 5-0 on the season as he stuck Andrew Kirsch as the Bears threw him into action at the last minute. Dan Naugle was the announced opponent during introductions.
“A lot of credit has to go to all the seniors who are stepping up this season,” Crawford said of his team’s 4-1 start. “We have some good freshmen filling out weight classes and veterans stepping up. This team has a lot of potential. We have the numbers to take this a long way this season.”
How about his start and the fact that this is is final season.
“It is hard to believe it is my senior season,” Crawford said. “I will certainly miss these guys next year. I am glad that the rest of the football seniors and myself finally dragged Carter O’Gorman onto the team this year. We’ve been working on that for a long time. And it was dragging to get him to finally join us.
“I have just two goals this season,” he added. “The first is to help our team have a winning record. The second is to reach 100 career wins.”
THAT NUMBER NOW stands at 26 as Crawford has improved to 74-44, 11th on the all-time list and five wins away from moving into the top-10.
The Trojans still had some work to do and two more seniors came through. John McCall and James Cochran each came into the night with 2-2 records this season and both earned win number three.
McCall used a third-period takedown and near-fall to post a 12-6 decision over Dan Naugle at 160 pounds and Cochran, who also thought he had a forfeit win at 171, needed to step onto the mat to compete. He responded by pinning Brian Perriello 46 seconds into the second period as the Trojans closed the gap to 27-28.
When Murray had his hand raised for his forfeit at 189, the Trojans officially completed the come-from-behind 33-28 victory.
“This was a great, close match,’ Kielbasa said. “I certainly would have like a win. We made the changes we thought would work and we really won the matches I thought we would. The big thins was the Homer kids didn’t get pinned in some of those matches. Coach Lewis has done a great job bringing this program back after some tough years. His kids really wrestled well.
“I really was pleased with our guys,” he added. “We both really have some young kids. It is fun to have close matches like this. It’s fun for the wrestlers, coaches and fans.”
“The 145 and 171 matches were both huge for us,” Lewis said. “Mark really wrestled tough and James came up big.
“Curt made all the right moves,” he continued. “He did the right things to try to win and we were able to do what we needed to do to get the win.”
Lewis really called this a team win.
“Our lighter weight guys are moving up one weight class so we don’t have to forfeit at 125,” Lewis explained. “Those guys are young, gaining experience and they continue to fight right to the end of each match.
Nate is on a mission this year,” he added. “Benny is wrestling tough, as is John McCall and Ryan Murray. Carter doesn’t surprise me, he is a good athlete.”
Homer will return to action Saturday at the Coaches vs. Cancer Duals hosted by Chittenango. In addition to the Trojans and Bears, New Hartford, Marcellus, Onondaga and Whitney Point will compete beginning at 10 a.m.
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