By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
The Jefferson wrestling team has spotted opponents 18 points for much of the season. Usually, that’s a bit of a concern for the Falcons and coach Tom Avsec.
Avsec, after his team spotted Edgewood that same 18-point advantage, didn’t have to show concern at all, as the Falcons received eight forfeits from the Warriors en route to a 58-21 victory Thursday at Falcon Gymnasium.
“For once, it didn’t matter (that we gave up 18 points to start the match),” Avsec said.
Edgewood coach Wes Cleveland knew exactly what the case was going to be and made sure his grapplers were focused on the right picture.
“We pretty much know that’s the way it is, especially with six or seven kids out there,” Cleveland said. “There’s no chance.
“We don’t look at the team score. We worry about getting individual wins and preparing for sectionals.”
Tanner Perry opened the match well for Edgewood, taking down Victor Toth right off the opening whistle. Forty-two seconds later, he had scored a pin at 106 pounds.
“With the way the weights are drawn (as to where the match will start), that could be anyone,” Cleveland said. “Getting that first win helps. It clams the other guys’ nerves down.”
Zac Wilpula and Zac Noce then accepted forfeits at 113 and 120, respectively, to give Edgewood an 18-0 advantage out of the gate.
Joey Baitt accepted a forfeit at 126 to give the Falcons their first points.
Jerry Scott then scored a takedown and two near-fall points at 132 before he had to address a bloody nose. After returning to the mat, he pinned David Ellis to get Jefferson with six, 18-12.
“Jerry’s had a little bit of a rough year,” Avsec said. “He missed all of November and December with an ankle injury. He’s just back now. He’s starting to wrestle really well.”
Jeroen Ellis’ reversal of Logan Platt with 17 seconds to go in the first period at 138 gave him a 4-2 lead after two minutes. After letting Platt go to start the second period, he tallied a takedown.
Platt turned the tables for a reversal with 14 seconds remaining, but Ellis escaped at the buzzer for a 7-5 lead. Ellis netted a pair of reversals and yielded one to Platt in the third period to score an 11-7 victory.
“That was a good match,” Cleveland said. “You could see a little bit, because of the snow days, especially coming off of a weekend like that, both were struggling with conditioning a little bit. People don’t realize how that time off messes with the kids’ wind capacity.
“It was a good, tough match.”
Joey Babic (145), Jeremy Brady (152), Zach Collins (160), Troy Stitt (170) and Rocky Tripodi (182) all accepted forfeits to give Jefferson a 42-21 lead.
Blake Perry took a 2-0 advantage over Jarrod Harrah with 29 seconds left in the first period at 195. He then scored an escape, gained a point for a technical violation (clasping) and netted a takedown in the second.
Harrah scored his first point with an escape with 15 seconds to go. Two near-fall points and takedown to another escape by Harrah gave Perry the 10-2 major decision.
“I know Jarrod,” Perry said. “I’ve got to give him props. I’ve wrestled him before and he’s improved a bunch. Working with Rocky and Troy in practice gets me in good shape so I can keep going in those close matches.
“Again, I know Jarrod and he’s the kind of kid who can catch you with something. He’s a kid you have to wrestle smart against.”
“Jerry and Blake wanted to win their last matches (at home on senior night),” Avsec said. “Those guys were ready to go. I think they just wanted to win in front of the home crowd.”
Kevin Orvos and Caleb Harris closed out the match accepting forfeits at 220 and heavyweight, respectively.
The Falcons were without the services or Ricker Maple, who injured his ankle Saturday. Maple stands at 149 career wins.
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.