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Montgomery uses bonus points to secure win

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Montgomery’s Hunter Leet wrestles Sullivan County’s Michael Conway during their bout at 132 pounds Thursday at Montgomery. Montgomery won, 42-23.

MONTGOMERY — As the second period clock ticked away, Montgomery coach Kyle Mowrey got the attention of Kai Felix. He calmly but sternly told the 126-pounder in not so many words the Red Raiders needed bonus points.

Felix was in control of the bout with Sullivan County’s Cobey Saxon and the focus of the bout needed to shift from just getting a win to maximizing the team points from the win. Mowrey was telling Felix what he already knew.

At a school the size of Montgomery — the fifth-smallest in District 4 — bonus points are always at the forefront of the dual-meet formula. On a night where the Red Raiders dressed 10 wrestlers, it was even more important. Even though Felix had to settle for a dominant six-point win, his teammates helped pick up the slack with six falls to post a 42-23 win over Sullivan County to open the dual season for both teams.

Devon Deem earned a fall at 152 pounds in a matchup of state-ranked wrestlers, and four other wrestlers earned a fall in 64 seconds or fewer.

“We’re in bonus-point mode all the time. And just the opposite, if we’re in a match and we’re losing, we have to minimize the bonus points we give up,” Mowrey said. “It’s just what you have to do when you only have nine of 10 guys.”

Deem said dealing with the forfeits becomes a game of math for those on the bench. The Red Raiders knew there would be forfeits at 182 and 285 pounds, so if they could make up for those losses before they got to that point, they’d be fine. And starting at 106 pounds last night, it gave the Red Raiders an opportunity to play that game of math early.

Blake Snyder’s fall at 120 pounds countered the bonus points Montgomery surrendered with a forfeit at 138 pounds. Hunter Leet’s fall at 132 made up for the eventual technical fall from fifth-ranked Nate Higley at 145 pounds. And when Deem and Kaide Drick posted back-to-back falls at 152 and 160, Montgomery was in the clear.

Any momentum it gained from official Mike Millward continually slapping the mat never subsided. Even in his loss to Higley, Colby Puderbach fought off his back more than once to hold Higley to a technical fall and save a point. That was the kind of fight Mowrey wanted to see after last weekend’s Darren Klingerman Invitational where 14 of the Red Raiders’ losses were by fall.

“Bonus points are kind of our expectation,” Mowrey said. “We have to look for a win first, but then we have to look for bonus points. That’s key for us, and if we can do that, I think we can hang with some people.”

“Blake Snyder opened us up with a great pin and that livened everything up for us,” said Deem, a returning regional qualifier. “We knew it wasn’t going to go downhill from there.”

Deem wasn’t sure who his opponent would be for his bout at 152. Mowrey told him before the match began if Sullivan decided to bump Higley to 145, he was going to leave Deem there to face the former state placewinner. But Higley stayed at 145 and his technical fall got the Griffins within 15-11 of Montgomery.

Deem, ranked 20th in the state, instead faced district qualifier Colton Ammerman, who is ranked 23rd at 152. It was a matchup Deem was OK with because competing against wrestlers with a funky style like Ammerman’s was something Deem wanted to do. Ammerman got the first takedown of the bout when the two got rolling around as Deem got in on a shot and Ammerman countered. But Deem got back to even with a reversal with 32 seconds left in the first period.

Deem took a 3-2 lead with a quick escape in the second period, and after fending off an Ammerman shot, he re-shot on the legs of Ammerman and immediately took the senior to his back. Deem scored the fall 3 minutes, 10 seconds into the bout for a six points which wasn’t expected, but definitely was welcomed. Sullivan County’s only points the remainder of the dual came from the two forfeits at 182 and 285 pounds, but by that time the Red Raiders were already well in control of the dual,

“Devon, he’s very mature and doesn’t get rattled too easily,” Mowrey said. “Ammerman is a tough wrestler and a funky wrestler and he had some good scrambled with him. But Devon was able to build back up and close that gap. And once he got moving and into position, he was able to get the bonus points.”

“I liked wrestling Ammerman because we got into a lot of funky positions and I need to work on getting into and out of those kinds of positions,” Deem said. “So that was an eye-opener for me. It’s pretty nice coming out here in our first dual match and getting a win.”

Montgomery 42,

Sullivan County 23

106: Double forfeit. 113: Double forfeit. 120: Blake Snyder, M, pinned Yasler Montero Salas, 0:52. 126: Kai Felix, M, dec. Cobey Saxon, 8-2. 132: Hunter Leet, M, pinned Michael Conway, 0:23. 138: Bryan Hope, SC, by forfeit. 145: No. 5 Nate Higley, SC, tech. fall Colby Puderbach, 20-4, 3:29. 152: No. 20 Devon Deem, M, pinned No. 23 Colton Ammerman, 3:10. 160: Kaide Drick, M, pinned Alex Doran, 1:50. 170: Ben Marino, M, dec. Colton Pretti, 6-2. 182: Herm Harney, SC, by forfeit. 195: Gabe Wright, M, pinned Dustin Neidig, 0:24. 220: Brad Leon, M, pinned Noah Phillips, 1:04. 285: Joe Malkemes, SC, by forfeit.

Takedowns: Montgomery 12, Sullivan County 5.

Official: Mike Millward.

Junior high: Montgomery won, 54-18.

Records: Montgomery (1-0), Sullivan County (0-1).

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