What was supposed to be a matchup of Harford County's premier wrestling teams quickly turned into a blowout for host Harford Tech yesterday.
Harford Tech's first wrestler got pinned, but the Cobras won nine of the next 10 bouts, six by pins, and finished with a 49-19 rout of visiting Fallston.
It was the fourth straight dual-meet win for Harford Tech over the Cougars (2-1 county and overall) - and by far the most dominant of the series. The Cobras' ambitious schedule includes eight teams that have been ranked by The Sun at some point already this season.
The No. 2-ranked Cobras (2-0 overall, 1-0 league) emphatically demonstrated why they're regarded a threat to dethrone Class 2A-1A state champ Owings Mills, along with No. 3 South Carroll and No. 4 Hammond of Howard County.
"This was a great experience for our whole team to show what we can do," said state runner-up Mike Long (125), who improved to 2-0 after controlling county runner-up Scott Parker in a 6-0 victory. "It seems every match, we've pulled together more, and we've gotten better and better. We're doing better than we were at this point last year. "
Down 6-0 after sophomore Mike Kulik (140 pounds) overcame a 2-0 deficit to pin Frank Linkous, the Cobras then posted four straight wins for a 16-6 lead. The run was composed of a 56-second pin by state runner-up Josh Taylor (160), a major decision by Matt Kahl (152) and decisions by Jonathan Woods (145) and Jeff Gardner (171) - the latter on a takedown with 10 seconds left in his 3-1 victory over Brandon Bowers.
Fallston's Dan Sullivan (189) won for the seventh time in as many bouts, 13-6, over Matt Zaun. But the Cobras rolled again on pins by Hunter Cavey (215), Chris Moxey (275), Mark Taylor (103) and Eric Haskell (119), a decision by state runner-up Mike Long (125) and a forfeit to Matt Oates (112).
Fallston also got wins from Greg Sulin (a pin at 130) and Carmen Bongiourno (major decision at 135).
"We have to work on staying off our backs," said Sullivan, noting that five new wrestlers started last night for Fallston. "We have a lot more potential than what showed in the score."
Mark Taylor, not related to Josh, scored a 34-second pin over Giovanni Gorgone. Haskell, who pinned Steve Baum with a split-cradle in 1:07, sealed the match mathematically, 40-9.
"The last match, it was me who got pinned in a [split-cradle]," said Haskell, a junior. "I didn't like getting pinned, so tonight, I tried to reverse the curse."