By Pete Chiodo
With five matches decided by forfeit and the other nine ending by fall, it took less then a half-hour for Crawford County neighbors Maplewood and Cochranton to settle their differences on the wrestling mat Thursday night at the Bird Cage.
And while Maplewood won five of the nine contested bouts, it was Cochranton grabbing the dual match victory, 48-36.
“After last weekend, we just needed to start heading in the right direction,” said Cochranton head coach John Svirbly, whose team improved to 8-4 on the year with the victory. “It was just a bad weekend at Tool City. But we took strides in the right direction. We’re starting to chain-wrestle and be aggressive and not so timid. ... They were heading in the right direction (on Thursday). But time is getting short for the postseason.”
Maplewood, meanwhile, dropped to 1-8 on the year, well off the pace of last season’s 17-3 record.
“The team as a whole, we’re off to a rough start this year,” said Tigers head coach Rod Dennis. “Last year we only lost (three) starters. We made the (District 10) duals. We thought we were going to be much tougher. So we’re not sure what’s wrong. I’m just trying to get them pumped up. And they wrestled much better (Thursday). We lost some matches, but we wrestled much better than we have been. So there is some encouragement there. We’ll see if we can keep them going.”
Last night’s match was the second for Dennis as the Tigers’ head coach. Dennis took up the helm for former head coach Matt Wilcox, who departed from the squad the past weekend to attend cadet training at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in Hershey.
“We knew ahead of time (that Wilcox was leaving) so we were ready for it,” said Dennis. “I just slid into the spot. ... I’ve been coaching at Maplewood for 15 years. I started at the elementary level and coached junior high. I’ve been coaching at the high school level for the last seven years. So I knew the paperwork and the ins and outs.
“The hardest part is how to motivate the kids. If you knew that magical way, that stuff that can’t be taught, that’s the hardest part of coaching.”
Motivation can only do so much, though, when a team is giving up four forfeits. That’s what Maplewood — without one of their top seniors, Jake Parsons, who is injured — gifted to Cochranton last night. And that’s what cost the Tigers.
Maplewood received their only forfeit of the night at 195 as Isaiah Stearns got the automatic arm-lift.
Then at 220, Cochranton tied it up when Lane Hall needed just 29 ticks to pin Darin Free.
Cochranton’s Evan Miller received a forfeit at 285 to put the Redbirds ahead 12-6. However, Maplewood’s 106-pounder Kenyon Andrews tied it up when he pinned Devan Davis halfway through the second period.
“Kenyon has lost to some tough wrestlers,” said Dennis. “But the kid he beat (Thursday) has beat kids that beat him. So he should be on a high now, getting his spirits back up.”
Cochranton used its second forfeit at 113 to take an 18-12 lead. But Maplewood tied it right back up again at 120 when David Marvin scored the three-count over Shane Reiser in 49 seconds.
“David’s tough,” said Dennis, “he never stops.”
Cochranton then pulled away with five straight victories. Nate Kline kicked off the run at 126, pinning Brandon Morton in 3:27. Then at 132, Jared Morrison pinned Henry Coyle in 1:56.
“That Coyle is a seasoned wrestler,” said Svirbly. “(Morrison) was one of our guys that was going from move to move to move and it eventually worked out for him.”
At 138, Dylan O’Donnell won by forfeit. At 145, Jake Yarnell recorded a 52-second fall over Derrek Bonecutter. And R.J. Boozer received a forfeit victory to push the Cardinals ahead 48-18. There was no way Maplewood could come back.
The Tigers did, however, win the final three bouts. Jeremy Parsons got the ball rolling at 160, pinning Brad Carlini in the third period. At 170, Kyle Nuhfer pinned Avery Mailliard in 1:48. And Austin Binkert won the 182-pound match with a 36-second pin over Blake Miller.