JOHNSONBURG – Despite another dual meet loss Tuesday night at home against visiting Brockway, the Rams saw several bright spots in their short lineup.
"We don't expect to win any dual matches but we're looking for individual improvement every week, and the kids haven't disappointed us," said Johnsonburg head varsity wrestling coach Tom Launer following the home team's 55-18 loss. "They come to practice and work hard, and we're happy with the way the season is going."
In the evening's first match at 140 pounds, Johnsonburg's Jonathan Card, previously undefeated, lost a 14-1 major decision to Rover D.J. Forrest.
"Jonathan Card lost his first match of the year but he went the full six minutes, he didn't give up, and that's the first time he's had to wrestle the full six minutes this year," Launer said. "Maybe he was a little bit gassed but he wrestled hard, and we were happy to see that."
Down 10-0 early after a forfeit at 152 pounds, the Rams got on the board as undefeated senior Max Zimmerman pinned Rover Branden Boleen at the 53 second mark of the first period. Max Zimmerman scored a takedown 41 seconds in and eventually recorded the fall.
In the 160-pound weight class, Rover Casey Wolfe pinned Johnsonburg's Mike Kennedy in at the 57 second mark.
"[Kennedy] got caught in a headlock and when you get caught in a headlock, and they get it one deep on you, there's not too much you can do," Launer said.
Kennedy succumbed to a takedown early before getting trapped in the headlock to give the Rovers a 16-6 lead.
At 171 pounds, Rover Trevor Hartless scored a major decision over Johnsonburg's Mitchell Schloder.
Trevor Hartless scored a takedown 30 seconds into the match and was given three back points with 33 seconds left in the first period. After a scoreless second period, the Rover scored a quick escape from the down position and finished off the match with a takedown, and 8-0 victory.
In the 189-pound weight class, Johnsonburg freshman Eric Bevacqua endured a 16-1 technical fall against Brockway's Nathan Hartless. After an early takedown, Trevor Hartless upped his lead with three back points and a late takedown after a Bevacqua escape for a 7-1 lead. The Rover grabbed six more back points in the second quarter to increase the lead. Trevor Hartless started the third period in the down position at the 1:39 mark and scored a takedown 24 seconds later for the technical fall.
After five straight forfeits, Johnsonburg's Alex Zimmerman scored a second-period pin over Rover Troy Hidinger to cut the Brocwkay lead to 55-12. At 135 pounds, Johnsonburg's Jesse Wolfe pinned Rover Justin Marshall just over a minute into the match after the Ram built a 10-0 lead.
Despite three wins by fall, Launer said most of his wrestlers fell behind early in their matches which led to their demise.
"We were getting behind early and we work on our feet everyday, we stress that," Launer said. "The first takedown is really key and in my opinion that's one of the most important aspects, who gets that first takedown.
"We work on them every single day and we're working on it, we want them to be aggressive and get that first takedown but it doesn't always happen. It's hard to come back from that early deficit, it hurts when you're down early."
The Rams are scheduled for a makeup match Jan. 4 at Smethport.
"All in all, we were happy with the way the kids wrestled and it's still early in the season," Launer said.
140: D.J. Forrest (B) maj. dec. Jonathan Card (J), 14-1, (4-0 B)
145: Alex Allender (B) win by forfeit (10-0 B)
152: Max Zimmerman (J) pin Branden Boleen (B), 1:07, (10-6 B)
160: Casey Wolfe (B) pin Mike Kennedy (J), 1:03, (16-6 B)
171: Trevor Hartless (B) maj. dec. Mitchell Schloder (J), 8-0, (20-6 B)
189: Nathan Hartless (B) tech. fall Eric Bevacqua (J), 16-1, 4:45, (25-6 B)
215: Zach Brinkley (B) win by forfeit (31-6 B)
285: Joel Yahner (B) win by forfeit (37-6 B)
103: Devon Park (B) win by forfeit (43-6 B)
112: Bryce Buesnik (B) win by forfeit (49-6 B)
119: Justin Prave (B) win by forfeit (55-6 B)
125: Alex Zimmerman (J) pin Troy Hidinger (B), 2:37, (55-12 B)
130: No match
135: Jesse Wolfe (J) pin Justin Marshall (B), 1:03, (55-18 B)