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Zevan sparks Mustangs comeback

MIDDLEBURG — The major decision staring Midd-West’s Ethan Zevan in the face was nice, but he wanted more. The Mustangs were trailing Montoursville by a point Thursday night when the junior 126-pounder thought a big move could help spark his team.

So he went back to a move he hit in the first period of his bout which went for two near-fall points before he went out of bounds. Closer to the center of the mat late in the third period, Zevan got out in front of Montoursville’s Lucas Sherwood and hit the pancake which became a fall with just 13 seconds left in the bout.

Zevan’s fall started a run of four consecutive falls for Midd-West which helped turn a one-point deficit into a dominant 47-30 win over Montoursville. The 25th-ranked Mustangs earned bonus points in all eight bouts it won as they moved to 4-1 this season.

Montoursville wrestled without senior 195-pounder Gable Crebs, who tweaked his knee during last week’s Powerade Tournament. It was the Warriors’ first regular season loss to a District 4 team since dropping a 63-8 match against Southern Columbia in the finals of the Flynn Propane Duals in Towanda on Jan. 7, 2017.

“The end result is we performed just as good as them, if not better,” Midd-West coach Dale Franquet said. “We preach in the room bonus points, bonus points. When you’re giving up 12 points like we are, you have to try to battle and get those extra points back because we’re going to give up those 12 points all year.”

The forfeits Midd-West gave away at 106 and 113 pounds made work like Zevan’s late in his bout all the more important. It’s a thought which crossed his mind as he built a 10-2 lead in the third period with his fourth takedown.

Even though Zevan didn’t get the fall in the first period when he hit the pancake, he knew it was a spot he could get to again as long as he was in better position on the mat. So with the major decision all but locked up, he took a chance he could catch Sherwood in the same spot. Closer to the center of the mat, Zevan got the fall 5:47 into the bout to give Midd-West a 24-19 lead.

“I knew he wasn’t as strong in that position and I figured I could take him over. It’s what we needed at the time,” said Zevan, who is ranked 24th in the state at 126. “It definitely sent some energy through the crowd and got them excited, too. It got the team excited because we went out and got a couple falls.”

Montoursville scored just two takedowns through the night’s first 11 bouts. One from Cameron Wood in a major decision at 220 pounds, and one from Broc Lutz in a decision at 120. Midd-West took advantage of that, setting the tone with pace and aggressiveness early in bouts.

The Mustangs scored the first takedown in six of the first eight contested bouts. It won all six of them. Austin Aucker, Avery Bassett and Kameron Kline used that physicality to score a fall from 132 through 145 pounds following Zevan’s win at 126. Those falls helped push Midd-West’s lead to 42-19, and not even a technical fall for Cael Crebs in a matchup of state-ranked wrestlers at 152 or a fall from Dylan Bennett in the night’s final bout at 170 could help pull the Warriors out of the hole they had dug.

“I thought they looked flat,” Montoursville coach Matt Yonkin said “We have to find a way to get that out of us. We were definitely flat and that can’t continue. (Midd-West) was more physical, they were more aggressive and they wanted it more. That’s a good team. They’ve got a lot of talent over there. I was impressed.”

“If you wrestle hard on your feet and are able to score on your feet, it’s going to win you a lot of matches,” said Franquet, whose team had a 15-9 advantage in takedowns.

Midd-West caught a break early when Crebs wasn’t sent out to face Trey Lauver at 195 pounds. The senior was coming off a sixth-place finish at the Powerade Tournament over the weekend, but he defaulted in his final two bouts after tweaking his knee in a one-point semifinal loss.

That likely 12-point swing plus Carter Sauer’s ability to hold Wood to a 10-2 win at 220 pounds gave the Mustangs some early momentum. Owen Zechman followed with a first-period fall at 285 pounds. Not even the two forfeits and a win for Lutz could slow down the momentum the Mustangs had built.

In the blink of an eye what looked to be a toss-up dual meet became a runaway. Midd-West is one of just three state-ranked District 4 teams, joining No. 1 Southern Columbia and No. 3 Muncy. The Mustangs wrestled like it last night in front of a packed gym.

Midd-West used six falls, a forfeit and a technical fall from Josh Rodriguez to help overcome the free 12 points it handed the Warriors because of forfeits. The Mustangs’ lone loss this year was a three-point loss to state-ranked Octorara on the first night of the season with Zechman not able to compete.

“We don’t even have a full team, but we keep beating pretty good teams,” Zevan said. “We don’t always win by a lot, but we’re pretty good. Our main focus is to get the six points where we can so we can keep building up points and clear out those forfeits we have.”

No. 25 Midd-West 47, Montoursville 30

182: Joe Rodriguez, MW, pinned Gavin Livermore, 3:26. 195: Trey Lauver, MW, won by forfeit. 220: No. 6 Cameron Wood, Mon, maj. dec. Carter Sauer, 10-2. 285: No. 17 Owen Zechman, MW, pinned Sawyer O’Connor, 1:52. 106: No. 24 Kayden Frame, Mon, won by forfeit. 113: Xan Oberheim, Mon, won by forfeit. 120: Broc Lutz, Mon, dec. Aidan Steininger, 5-0 126: No. 24 Ethan Zevan, MW, pinned Lucas Sherwood, 5:47. 132: Austin Aucker, MW, pinned Dominica Dougherty, 1:14. 138: No. 10 Avery Bassett, MW, pinned Wyatt DeWald, :35. 145: Kameron Kline, MW, pinned Jake Dinges, 2:29. 152: No. 13 Cael Crebs, Mon, tech. fall No. 9 Wyatt Bassett, 16-1, 5:02 160: Josh Rodriguez, MW, tech. fall Caleb Moser, 16-1, 4:44. 170: No. 6 Dylan Bennett, Mon, pinned Ben Umstead, 1:24.

Takedowns: Midd-West 15, Montoursville 9.

Official: Jeff Witherite.

Records: Midd-West (4-1); Montoursville (3-1).

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