Williamsport wrestlers happy with close win vs. Loyalsock

Feeling an arm come across his throat, Frank Rose began to panic. The Williamsport sophomore had been in the same position a week ago at the Selinsgrove Holiday Tournament and ended up being choked unconscious.

So as he was being taken to his back during Saturday’s wrestling dual meet against Loyalsock in the decisive bout, with the arm across his throat, Rose waved his finger for injury time to prevent what would likely have been the tying pin by the Lancers’ Brennan Moodie.

Rose recovered quickly, going on the attack after the injury time, and scoring a fall just over a minute into the first period to seal Williamsport’s 42-30 win over Loyalsock at the Magic Dome in a highly entertaining matchup of two teams struggling with youth.

“We needed a win as a team,” Williamsport head coach Joe Eaton said. “This is the best that we’ve wrestled to this point this year. We knew we were wrestling a team we’d be competitive with and has a lot of the same attributes as us and the score could be 60-15 either way. But I’m happy with how we went out and fought in the close matches. We’re starting to do some of the thing we’re doing in practice, and they’re showing that they’re paying attention and working on the things we’re practicing.”

It was the first dual-meet win for Williamsport (1-2) since last Jan. 19 when it picked up three of its four wins for the season at the South Williamsport tournament. Loyalsock (0-3) was wrestling for just the fifth time this season.

“I think this was pretty typical of us,” Lancers head coach Ben Hepburn said. “We’re very young and we have no experience. We’re losing matches by a lack of experience. It’s just going to take some time. They’re frustrated and I’m frustrated, but it’s just going to take some time. They have to keep working hard is all.”

Loyalsock fought back from a 24-9 deficit after Williamsport had run off four consecutive wins early in the match. But the Millionaires won three of the final four bouts by fall, forcing the Lancers to have to chance big moves.

Jaron Lewis scored a pin at 170 pounds to break a 24-24 tie. After Crae McCracken picked up a fall to tie the match again for Loyalsock, Gene Blackwell recorded a pin with one second left in the first period to again put Williamsport up by six points.

It put Rose, a first-year wrestler, in a position to seal the win. But when Moodie caught him early in the period and began to crank him to his back, Rose panicked after he was choked unconscious against Whitehall’s Fouad Haddad just a week ago and called for injury time.

“I felt him grab at the throat area and I didn’t want to get hurt,” Rose said. “Last week psyched me out a little bit. But coach told me I still have to go attack. I can’t be scared anymore. I have to attack and get over it.”

Down 5-0, it’s exactly what Rose did. He scored a reversal and took Moodie right to his back and secured the fall 1:06 into the first period.

Had Moodie gotten the fall, tying the score at 36-36, Williamsport, unofficially, still would have won the dual on Criteria H, the most first points scored.

“I think he was in panic mode and it wasn’t anything more than that,” Eaton said of Rose calling injury time. “He’s making progress. A lot of our first-year kids are starting to make progress with a feel for wrestling. Because at the beginning of the season I don’t think many of them understood what wrestling what supposed to feel like.”

It was one of six falls recorded by the Millionaires yesterday. Junior two-time regional qualifier Roshaun Cooley scored the first of those six falls in his first match of the season at 120 pounds. Coming off a thumb injury he sustained just before the start of the season, Cooley recorded four first-period takedowns before scoring a fall 28 seconds into the second period.

Cooley’s win started a run of four consecutive wins for the Millionaires which ended when Loyalsock freshman Sam Griffith pulled off a stellar, 4-2, overtime win at 145 pounds. Griffith, who jumped out of the way of a shot attempt in overtime to score his own takedown, started a run of three consecutive wins for the Lancers to tie the score at 24-24.

Levi Vogel ended that run with a fall in the third period. He had chosen the top position in the third down 10-1 to Williamsport’s Devin Marty. He tried a number of different pinning combinations before finally getting a half-nelson in deep for the fall. Vogel improved to 4-1 with the win.

“That was the first varsity win for Sam. He doesn’t have a lot of experience, but he has all the makings,” Hepburn said. “Levi, I thought, was the better wrestler out there, but you look up at the scoreboard and he’s down by nine. Give him some credit. He didn’t quit. He kept coming back at it and gets the pin. It shows you have to keep wrestling.”

106: Braden Bower, W, dec. Alex Vogel, 8-2. 113: Adam Malek, L, dec. A.P. Lorson, 4-3. 120: Roshaun Cooley, W, pinned Dominique Martinez, 2:28. 126: Richie Lowrie, W, pinned Cullen Harrell, 5:50. 132: Matt Sherman, W, pinned Ryan Ritter, :47. 138: Jacob Sherman, W, dec. Trevor Eubanks, 5-2. 145: Sam Griffith, L, dec. Drew Lutz, 4-2, sv. 152: Zach Shuman, L, pinned Blaine Logue, 2:37. 160: Levi Vogel, L, pinned Devin Marty, 5:43. 170: Jaron Lewis, W, pinned Collin Behney, 2:41. 182: Crae McCracken, L, pinned Eric Budnovitch, 1:53. 195: Gene Blackwell, W, pinned Hayden Eld, 1:59. 220: Frank Rose, W, pinned Brennan Moodie, 1:06. 285: Stephen Harrison, L, won by forfeit.

*Match started at 285 pounds

Takedowns: Williamsport 17, Loyalsock 11.

Record: Williamsport (1-2); Loyalsock (0-3).