Montoursville appreciates value of each team point in beating Williamson

There was a Keith Batkowski pin at 132 pounds that gave Montoursville a three-point lead. Freshman Nolan Ott used a third-period reversal for an exhilarating one-point win. Triston Choate overcame a three-point deficit in the third period and rallied for an overtime victory.

All brought the Montoursville bench and a section of fans across from the scorer’s table to their feet. It was a loss, however, that may have brought the loudest ovation and drilled home a pre-game point by Montoursville coach Jamie Yonkin.

While the individual tournaments in a few weeks are all about winning and advancing, the District 4 Class AA Duals tournament is a different animal. Losses are still followed with a twinge of disappointment, but how a wrestler loses can go a long way in determining a match’s outcome.

Michael Forney’s 11-0 loss to Williamson’s undefeated Billy Barnes didn’t turn out to be the deciding factor in Montoursville’s 45-25 win on Wednesday night in the round of 16 of the district duals, but it’s efforts like Forney’s that could decide matches on Saturday at Milton and could determine a state bid.

“Before the match started we met with the boys and told them there is no individual stuff right now and that this was going to be a total team effort,” Yonkin said. “They each knew what their job was whether it was to go out and get a pin or obviously not get pinned. Everybody did their job tonight and some even exceeded it.”

Forney, a sophomore, came into last night’s match at 152 against Barnes, a returning PIAA sixth-place finisher, just two wins above .500. But Forney allowed Barnes to turn him only once while holding him to a major decision.

As Forney returned to the bench, he received an appreciative hand from the crowd and a slap on the backside from Yonkin.

“Most kids that Barnes is going to wrestle, he is going to pin,” Yonkin said. “When you can stop that the math is pretty easy, it saves us two points, and when we were looking at this thing on paper it was going to be a three- to four-point match.”

“(Forney) has really improved the last two years,” Choate said. “He has so much heart and so much desire. He wants to be good and it’s really starting to show. He makes me proud.”

Barnes’ victory gave Williamson (18-11), the No. 10 seed, a 19-15 lead halfway through the match but Choate cut the deficit to 19-18 with a come-from-behind overtime decision at 160 pounds.

The junior trailed 5-2 after the second period but used a pair of reversals and a penalty point with 6 seconds left to tie the match at 7-7 before getting a takedown in overtime and closing Montoursville to within a point.

Montoursville’s upper weights quickly erased the one-point deficit, winning five consecutive matches – four by fall. Sophomore 170-pounder Garrett Hoffman initiated the pin parade and was followed by Lucas Shaheen.

Joseph Schriner used two penalty points and a hard earned third-period escape at 195 pounds for a 3-1 victory.

Ben Cerney and Connor Bassett finished off Williamson with back-to-back first-period falls at 220 and 285 pounds for a 45-19 lead before Montoursville surrendered a forfeit at 106 to set the final score.

Montoursville (13-5), who will face No. 15 seed Mifflinburg in the district quarterfinals on Saturday, won three of the four bouts decided by decision, including one by Ott at 145 pounds. The freshman rode Williamson’s Carl Gorg, another 20-match winner, the entire second period and then hit a switch in the early stages of the third and smothered him again for a 3-2 victory.

“The switch is one of my favorite moves,” Ott said. “I know I can always get it on kids. He was getting tired and leaving things open, so I just had to capitalize.”

While the bout at 145 featured two wrestlers with 20-plus wins, it didn’t feature the matchup Williamson was looking for. Williamson first-year coach Kevin Mowrey, a Montgomery graduate, was hoping to match undefeated Trevor McWhorter against Ott but when McWhorter was announced at 138 pounds, he was given a forfeit.

113: Morgan Comini, Mtv, pinned Roger Neal 3:57; 120: Tyrus Hamblin, W, pinned Cortland Stahl 2:29; 126: Herman Briggs, W, dec. Jacob Strassner 2-0, SV; 132: Keith Batkowski, Mtv, pinned Joey Brown 1:37; 138: Trevor McWhorter, W, won by forfeit; 145: Nolan Ott, Mtv, dec. Carl Gorg 3-2; 152: Billy Barnes, W, maj. dec. Michael Forney 11-0; 160: Triston Choate, Mtv, dec. Kirah Thompson 9-7, SV; 170: Garrett Hoffman, Mtv, pinned Hunter Hilfiger 1:29; 182: Lucas Shaheen, Mtv, pinned Jared Sheive 2:45; 195: Joseph Schriner, Mtv, dec. Michael Presto 3-1; 220: Ben Cerney, Mtv, pinned Mark Kirk 1:51; 285: Connor Bassett, Mtv, pinned Austin Moore 1:49; 106: Hunter Thompson, W, won by forfeit.

Records: Montoursville 13-5, Williamson 18-11. Next: Montoursville vs. Canton, tonight (regular season).