Red Raider wrestlers beat South, work on maximizing their wins
MONTGOMERY — Kyle Mowrey has been working on a basic math equation in the Montgomery wrestling room since the season began. The key point being that five points are more than two.
So when his Red Raiders wrestlers take down an opponent, he immediately wants them looking to score back points. Tuesday night in the season opening dual against South Williamsport, Montgomery took its coach’s lesson to heart.
Montgomery recorded four first-period falls last night as it cruised to a 65-15 victory over the Mounties. In a match which had as many forfeits as it had contested bouts, Montgomery made the most of those contested bouts, winning six of them, all of them with bonus points.
And in each of those wins, the Red Raiders took Mowrey’s philosophy of quickly looking for near-fall points after scoring a takedown.
“We’ve really been drilling a lot more to make sure two points becomes five points every time,” Mowrey said. “The last couple years we’ve only had 11 or 12 guys, so we were always looking for bonus points because they were so important to us. That’s a big part of what we’re doing now.”
Freshman Elijah Alexander set a tone for the Red Raiders at 106 pounds after the two teams traded forfeits. He scored a quick takedown and immediately worked for the fall, scoring it in just 35 seconds. Fellow freshman Terez Sewell followed suit, hitting a blast double for a takedown before sinking in a deep half-nelson for a fall in 1:35 at 126 pounds.
“We’ve started preaching about going right to the back,” said senior Montgomery senior Oscar Garcia, who earned a technical fall at 145 pounds. “We’re definitely pushing those extra points. It’s all about that aggression we’re trying to push into the team this year.”
Jensen Drick and Hudson Werner also took advantage of the one takedown they each got, scoring falls in 36 seconds and 1:04, respectively. In the six wins posted by the Red Raiders in contested bouts, they recorded just seven total takedowns. The only person to record more than one was Trevor Kennedy, who recorded his fall midway through the second period.
It was a domination born out of a physical, aggressive nature put forth by the Montgomery lineup. A veteran group which has eight seniors looked ready to go when they stepped on the line.
They forced a young and inexperienced South Williamsport team to be more defensive instead of attacking. That allowed Montgomery to dictate the pace of the match, especially from neutral.
“One thing we’re trying to work on is being aggressive and getting after it and hand-fighting the right way,” Mowrey said. “We want to be the person pushing the pace in the match, and we stress that a lot with the guys.”
“This is just a tough matchup for us,” South Williamsport head coach Eric Gerber said. “They have a lot of guys with a lot of experience and good wrestlers who will do well throughout the year. So I told our guys none of you backed down, you went out there and gave your best effort and we have to build from it and keep improving from it.”
South Williamsport’s only win in a contested bout came with Montgomery already leading 30-12. Senior Chad Banzhof was the lone South Williamsport wrestler who was able to push his pace. He scored his first of two takedowns — the only two the Mounties had all night — in the first period to take a 2-1 lead into the second.
Banzhof survived a flurry of reversals in which Montgomery’s Kai Felix had Banzhof on his back to take a 7-6 lead into the third period. When Felix chose bottom to start the third, Banzhof immediately signaled to go neutral and tied the bout at 7-7.
It paid off as Banzhof worked through a scramble to get the go-ahead takedown. He added three back points as insurance in the 12-7 win.
“He said we’re going neutral and getting the takedown to win,” Gerber said. “I felt like he won that match on conditioning. He kept pushing the pace and making the pace high. I’m so proud of his effort.”
It was an encouraging start to the season for a Montgomery team which is thinking it has a chance to be in the District 4 Duals tournament in late January. Seeing the aggression and seeing the thought process to focus on bonus points was a good starting point for Mowrey.
“We have a lot of veteran leadership here. Those seniors are leading the team by example and doing the right things in the room,” Mowrey said. “Right now it’s a matter of keeping guys healthy and keeping everybody focused. Each day we’re just looking to get better and better.”
106: Elijah Alexander, M, pinned Taylor Heverly, :35. 113: Dylan Reese, SW, won by forfeit. 120: Colby Puderbach, M, won by forfeit. 126: Terez Sewell, M, pinned Kamron Shams, 1:35. 132: Brandon Daldo, M, won by forfeit. 138: Chad Banzhof, SW, dec. Kai Felix, 12-7. 145: Oscar Garcia, M, tech. fall Nate Conser, 15-0, 2:43. 152: Trevor Kennedy, M, pinned Masen Lane, 2:59. 160: Jensen Drick, M, pinned Gerald Tawney, :36. 170: Hudson Werner, M, pinned Cameron Heverly, 1:04. 182: Chris Mangle, M, won by forfeit. 195: Dan Bleckley, M, won by forfeit. 220: Rion Withers, SW, won by forfeit. 285: Eithan Marino, M, won by forfeit.
*Match started at 220 pounds.
Takedowns: Montgomery 7, South Williamsport 2.
Official: Joe Cesari.
Records: Montgomery (1-0); South Williamsport (0-1).