Trailing host Manchester Valley with six bouts left, South Carroll’s undefeated dual meet record was in peril Tuesday night. But the Cavaliers rattled off six consecutive wins to close out the dual, posting a 44-27 victory over the Mavericks.
The Cavaliers (17-0, 4-0) are one of the top-ranked teams in the state, headlined by their strong middleweights.
“Now that we’re in the heart of the schedule 17-0, it’s awesome; 4-0 in the county. It’s awesome, but we’re not done yet,” South Carroll coach Matt Thomas said. “The goal is to hang that state banner in the gym at the end of the year. It’s accountability, the big thing is accountability in the room. If everyone goes out and does their job day in and day out, we get better each day.”
[ High school varsity sports roundup from Jan. 25. ]
Senior Anthony Bond started the comeback at 138 pounds, pinning Kameron Reid to earn his 17th victory of the season. Junior Gage Owen continued the momentum, staying undefeated with his 25th victory and 16th pin of the season.
Those consecutive pins flipped a 27-18 deficit to a 30-27 lead, the Cavaliers’ first advantage. But the match of the night — on paper and on the mat — was the ensuing 152-pound contest between South Carroll freshman Manny Rodrigues and Manchester Valley’s Travis Green.
Green entered 30-1 with 22 pins while Rodrigues was 24-3. In a back-and-forth match, Rodrigues executed a late takedown to earn the decisive 3-1 victory. That win furthered the Cavaliers’ momentum and prevented the Mavericks from drawing even.
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“We were down the whole time, I just needed to do whatever I could to get on the board, so we could get the win,” Rodrigues said of his victory.
After watching his brother earn the pivotal victory, AJ Rodrigues (160) continued his undefeated season. The junior tallied his 25th victory beating Manchester Valley’s Jake Boog, stretching the Cavaliers’ lead to 36-27 with just two bouts remaining.
“Just win. We’ve been behind most of our matches this year and we had the strength of our lineup,” AJ Rodrigues said of his mentality entering his match. “The strength of our team is from [120 pounds] all the way up to [182 pounds].”
Continuing the dominant stretch, senior Brandon Athey (170) and junior Rylan Moose (182) showcased their talents earning their 19th and 21st victories, respectively, to close out the dual and turn the final score into a more comfortable victory.
Despite struggling in the middleweights, Manchester Valley (25-8) started out strong picking up victories in the opening three bouts. That start was highlighted by Kobe Pennewell (285) earning his 30th win and 24th pin of the season.
As the match progressed, Lee Siepp (132) energized the home crowd notching his 29th victory and 20th pin by sticking Kayden Cyrus. But that turned out to be the Mavericks’ final win of the match. Manchester Valley battled down the stretch, but South Carroll’s onslaught of ranked wrestlers proved too much to overcome.
“Understanding the level that South Carroll is, for us there was really nothing for us to lose,” Manchester Valley coach David Dodson said. “Our goal was to come out here and compete, giving South Carroll everything we had. I think we did that, there were a couple close matches in the middle. All-in-all, I was pretty pleased with our performance.”