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Liberty’s Kyle Hutchinson and McClain Butler missed the first week of wrestling practice as members of the football team, which was getting ready for its Class 2A state quarterfinal.

The seniors knew they’d be coming into the winter season a little behind in terms of conditioning. And it took Thursday’s season opener against Francis Scott Key for the veterans to get their first live feeling at the difference between football and wrestling practice.

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“Basically [I need to] just get in shape so I have success down the road,” said Hutchinson, a first-team all-county lineman in the fall whose pin at 220 pounds got Liberty started in its 54-30 victory. “And it starts in the [wrestling] room, working hard.”

Butler, who capped the scoring for the Lions with his 63-second pin at 182, agreed with his teammate.

“Wrestling shape and football shape, two completely different things,” said Butler, an all-county linebacker who led Carroll in tackles this fall. “We had a [wrestling] scrimmage last Friday at Man Valley. Two minutes in I was already gassed. I thought I was in perfect shape for football. I thought I was going to be in good shape for wrestling.”

Butler joked before Thursday’s dual meet he’d need one week to get into form, one that saw him win 41 matches last year and take second at the county and Class 2A-1A West tournaments. Liberty posted six pins Thursday, getting its others from Seth Pearl (132), Ryan Ohler (138), Jake Slicher (160), and Ethan Plummer (170).

Francis Scott Key got all of its points from pins as well. Dustin Burgett (285) and Zach Kinloch (106) gave the Eagles and early lead, but they forfeited the next three bouts. They got to within 36-24 with pins from Bodey Griffin (145) and Nathan Perry (152), only to lose momentum from there.

Lions first-year coach Shawn Girch was pleased with the win, but said his young squad has plenty of work to do.

“What we’re looking at is not necessarily the wins and losses, but are they doing what we’re asking them to do?” Girch said. “Are they going out there and are they working hard? Our focus is the end of the season. We preach that constantly. We want to peak at the end, we don’t want to peak in December or January.”

220: Kyle Hutchinson (L) pin Wyatte Johns 1:08

285: Dustin Burgett (FSK) pin Luke Collins 0:27

106: Zach Kinloch (FSK) pin Kai Bailey 1:59

113: Liam Connor (L) by forfeit

120: Matt Slowikowski (L) by forfeit

126: Devin Ross (L) by forfeit

132: Seth Pearl (L) pin Josh Rouse 3:57

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138: Ryan Ohler (L) pin Logan Hudson 3:56

145: Bodey Griffin (FSK) pin Erik Feck 3:41

152: Nathan Perry (FSK) pin Anthony Marsico 3:58

160: Jake Slicher (L) pin Liam Weeks 1:29

170: Ethan Plummer (L) pin Matt Knox 4:16

182: McClain Butler (L) pin Sam Kinloch 1:03

195: Grady Dell (FSK) by forfeit

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