December 6, 2012


Late surge carries Purple Tigers

Close out 48-31 win at Homer with three pins


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland High’s Mike Southwick (right) tries to turn Homer’s Gage Root in the second period of their 152-pound match. Southwick pinned his foe in the third period.

Staff Writer

In true Cortland High-Homer Central fashion, the annual meeting between the two local wrestling rivals was not decided until the final bouts Wednesday night.
With the CHS Purple Tigers trailing 31-30 with three matches remaining, freshman Ian George got a momentum-swinging pin over host Trojan senior Travis Brown at 120 pounds that sparked a three-pin run by the visitors that secured a 48-31 victory in the OHSL Freedom Division opener for both teams.
Jake Tinker at 126 pounds and Zack Alexander at 132 pounds followed with first period pins to finish off Cortland’s seventh dual victory without a loss to open this promising season. Homer falls to 5-1.
“It was interesting to see it come down to the final three matches,” George said after this early-season showdown of unbeatens. “We did really well as a team. Everybody worked hard and gave a good effort.
“I felt really good about my win,” he added. “I felt that if I could get a pin, I could kick-start my teammates into something that could win the match.”
“Ian is working better,” Cortland coach Dave Darrow said of George. “Ian is working hard every day. He is a good little wrestler. He is young and it helped that he got 40 matches last year. Ian is a solid 120-pounder.”
While George’s win certainly was the start of the final big push by Cortland to the victory, a coaching decision back at 195 pounds proved costly from the standpoint that it halted a three-match pinning streak that saw Homer built an early 21-9 lead. Homer coach Jeff Lewis was hoping to capitalize on Matt DeWitt being eligible to wrestle when the overall night got started in the strength of the Trojan line-up at 138 pounds.
With Trojan junior Matt Norris getting an opening 9-6 decision over Ryan Webber at 138, Lewis opted to stick DeWitt into the 145 slot and then bumped his guys up throughout the remaining upper weight classes. DeWitt did lose a hard-fought 8-4 decision to Cortland senior Frank Davenport at 145, Purple Tiger junior Mike Southwick followed with a 5:31 win by fall over sophomore Gage Root at 152 to give Cortland a 9-3 lead.
Lewis’ senior ‘Triplets’ responded with three pins to give the home team momentum and a 21-9 advantage. Nick Petrie pinned Reilly Brown in 1:41 at 160. Eric Metzger used 1:39 to stick Jody Leonard at 170 and Mark Dove pinned Hunter Brandon in 3:18 at 182.
“They just go out on the mat and do what is expected,” Lewis of his stalwarts. “They get us points. I tell each of them that I need six points if you can get ‘em and they don’t let me down. They give me their full effort every time. I am proud of them and they did their job tonight.”
At 195, Lewis wanted to pit junior Dakota O’Gorman against Cortland senior Andrew Price. The problem was O’Gorman only weighed in at 166.5 in the morning and 165.2 at the pre-match weigh-in which meant he could only wrestle up to 182. He need to meet the 170-pound weight requirements to compete at 195.
Since O’Gorman had already reported to the scoring table by the time Coach Darrow questioned his weight, it meant that Homer would have to forfeit that match and the Purple Tigers received six points.
Would Price have still won the match if he wrestled O’Gorman? Darrow believes he would have, but it will never truly to be known. The Homer lead was cut to 21-15. Antonio Bustamante of CHS followed with a pin of Shawn McGrath at 220 and Cortland powerhouse Paul Turco scored a tough 7-4 decision over David Kiernan at 285 and the Tigers were in front 24-21.
“I just went with what I had to do,” Darrow said of the challenge of O’Gorman’s weight. “I still think we do win that match at 195, but I have to think that as a coach. Jeff was doing the same thing I was trying to do, find a way to win eight match-ups. You look for what you like and roll the dice.
“Antonio is a beast,” he chuckled on reference to Bustamante. “He’ll pin his way through sectionals. He is a quality wrestler. I don’t know many guys who can wrestle with him.”
“I made a mistake,” Lewis said of the incident at 195. “It cost us six points and some momentum. I feel bad about that. So this match is on me.
“I am proud of all my guys tonight,” he added. “They wrestled well. They did a nice job for the most part. We just came up short a couple of times.”
Homer got some momentum back as the match swing to the lightweights. Freshman Isaac Cline scored a pin win over Jacob Smith at the 5:53 mark of their 99-pound bout to give the Trojans a 27-24 lead. Purple Tiger Michael Bay received a forfeit at 106 in the one weight class that Homer could not fill and the Tigers were back on top 30-27.
Collin Baker gave the Trojans their final lead of the night. The sophomore posted a solid 11-0 major decision over Dane George at 113 pounds to put the Trojan in front 31-30 before Ian George sparked the final Tiger run to victory.
For the record, after the Cortland freshman’s win, Tinker stuck Zach Seymour in 32 seconds at 126. Alexander capped the night when he pinned Eric Petrie in 1:35.
“Our kids have a lot of heart,” Darrow said. “They are working hard. Nobody works harder than our guys. We certainly earned this win tonight.
“It was a great match, he continued. “We could wrestle again tomorrow and the outcome could be different.”
Before the varsity match began, Cortland and Homer split six exhibition matches. Dylan Couch (145, pin), Nate Lansdowne 170, major decision) and Nic Edmond (170, pin) were the Cortland winners. Zach Egan (132, decision), Drew Becker (170, pin) and Dylan Hotchkiss (195, pin) were the Homer winners.
Lewis then gave a emotional tribute to long-time Homer wrestling supporter Ken Holl, who recently passed away. It was the final calm before the storm of excitement as the packed gymnasium roared throughout the varsity matches.
Cortland will return to action Saturday at the Marathon Dual-Meet Tournament. Homer will travel to the General Brown Duals Saturday.


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