TOWANDA - With each Towanda fall to start Saturday night's dual against Hughesville, the rumblings from the Spartans' bench grew louder. First, just words of encouragement after the first fall, ending with a plea for the team to pick it up after the fourth fall.
Hughesville never found a way to overcome the 24-point deficit it faced after four bouts last night, falling to a Towanda team wrestling just its third match of the season, 39-25.
It was the second consecutive loss for Hughesville (5-3) after starting the season with five wins in its first six matches. Just three of the Spartans' wins came by bonus points.
"I like crisp, nice wrestling moves, and I didn't see many tonight," Hughesville head coach Steve Budman said. "That's the disappointing thing."
Towanda forced Hughesville to chase the big move and falls for two-thirds of the match after opening with three consecutive first-period falls, and adding a third-period fall in the fourth bout. The Black Knights (3-0) led 24-0 with less than 8 minutes of mat time having surpassed.
Tristan Decker, a Towanda senior who's battled injuries his entire career, scored a fall in the opening bout at 145 pounds when he caught Matt Heinrich in a tie-up and flipped him on his back. Justin Sheets followed with a fall in 38 seconds and regional qualifier Dayton Wickwire needed just 1:18 for his fall at 160 pounds.
Breycin Fulmer caught Adam Warburton in a headlock from the defensive position at 170 pounds in the third period of a 2-1 bout to score the fourth consecutive fall to open the dual for Towanda. That fourth fall seemed to put a little bit of panic in a Hughesville team coming off a 39-33 loss to Benton on Thursday.
"I think we made a real statement with the first three guys, and when they bumped (the lineup up) and Fulmer was able to get us that fourth fall in a row, I thought that was really huge," Towanda coach Bill Sexton said. "I didn't know what to expect from Warburton and I didn't know what to expect from Breycin. He lettered last year, but he was a hard-luck wrestler. He's done what he needed to do to get in the lineup. He's paid his dues to get there."
Hughesville ended the run with a fall of its own from district qualifier Robert White who wrestled up a weight class at 182 pounds. It was the first of only two falls for the Spartans.
Towanda held some of Hughesville's biggest guns to decisions and made them fight tooth-and-nail just to get them. District qualifier Matt Herr held on for a 1-0 win at 195 pounds against Dakotah Manning. Ethan Barnes was able to hang on to a leg in the final seconds for a 2-0 win at 285 pounds. State qualifier Zach Fry rode out district qualifier Terrick Vargason in the third period for a 1-0 win at 132 pounds.
Braden Stahlnecker's major decision at 106 pounds and Devin Stahlnecker's fall at 126 were the only other bonus-point wins for the Spartans.
Towanda also picked up a stellar 4-3 win by senior Nick Secules over Trevor Sones at 120 pounds which gave the Black Knights a 33-16 lead heading into the final three bouts.
"Even Rob White really had to fight for his fall at 82. When we knew we were going to cover 285, I thought we would dominate a little more through there, but we didn't," Budman said. "The guys were giving up weight, and they knew they were going to. But they don't particularly care. It doesn't bother them in the three periods when you're trying to win."
"We didn't give up bonus points to the ones they expect going in they have to get bonus from," Sexton said. "I was really pleased with Secules, too. I challenged him going in. I said, 'Nick, you're a senior, and you're a solid wrestler. But here's a kid (Sones) having a good year and who had a real good year last year, and he's one of the guys that they rely upon. We need to beat him. He's a sophomore coming into your building, you need to beat him."
106: Braden Stahlnecker, H, maj. dec. Nate Secules, 15-4. 113: Jared Lines, T, dec. Zach Beamer, 3-2. 120: Nick Secules, T, dec. Trevor Sones, 4-3. 126: Devin Stahlnecker, H, pinned Clay Mosier, :52. 132: Zach Fry, H, dec. Terrick Vargason, 1-0. 138: D.J. Knolles, T, pinned Nate Hampton, 5:39. 145: Tristan Decker, T, pinned Matt Heinreich, 1:12. 152: Justin Sheets, T, pinned Carter Ohnmeiss, :38. 160: Dayton Wickwire, T, pinned Cameron Shaner, 1:18. 170: Breycin Fulmer, T, pinned Adam Warburton, 4:39. 182: Robert White, H, pinned Kalob Benjamin, 2:37. 195: Matt Herr, H, dec. Dakotah Manning, 1-0. 220: Jeremy Sheet, T, dec. Dakota Gee, 8-4. 285: Ethan Barnes, H, dec. Garrett Pratt, 2-0.
*Match started at 145 pounds
Takedowns: Towanda 12, Hughesville 7. Official: Jack Young.
Records: Towanda (3-0); Hughesville (5-3).