By Carol McIntire
CARROLLTON – The Warriors wrestled two matches against Division I opponents last Wednesday in State Duals competition and returned to the mat Thursday night at home to face Alliance in a Northeastern Buckeye Conference (NBC) matchup.
The Warriors topped Austintown-Fitch 33-31 in the regional semifinal of the State Duals and fell in the final to powerhouse Massillon Perry 56-9 on Wednesday at Austintown-Fitch High School. They returned home to defeat Alliance 36-26 Thursday in a battle for second place in the league. With the win the Warriors improved to 4-1. They are in a tie for second place with Minerva, each with 4-1 records. Alliance fell to 3-2 and dropped to third place.
Coach Ken Pasiuk was proud of his team’s effort during the week and their performance against Division I opponents.
“We are obviously proud of the team,” said Pasiuk. “Moving up to Division I in the duals was an opportunity for our wrestlers to wrestle new teams at a high level. We want our guys to compete at a high level and putting them in this kind of environment helps provide tough competition and a different look. Reaching the regional finals in Division I was a cool experience. Our wrestlers should be proud.”
Against Alliance, the Warriors jumped out to a 15-point lead after the 145, 152 and 160-pound matches.
Ben Pasiuk (145) dominated Oggy Ford en route to a 16-1 major decision, Justin Shaw (152) posted a 10-1 major decision over Zach Rodgers and Brandon Daniels (160) pinned Logan Bell 1:19 into the first period.
Alliance put its first points on the board when Alex Kurpil (170) posted a 14-3 decision over Jaret Lane. The Aviators won the 182-lb. match when Marcus Davis got a takedown at the buzzer to decision Noah Carrothers 4-0 and Kayman Andrews (195) posted an 18-3 technical fall over Seth Brown to cut the lead to 15-11.
Noah Rutledge (220) built a 6-0 lead in the first period and posted an 11-5 decision over Chavion Young and stretched the Carrollton lead to 18-11.
Heavyweight Tavis Rutledge suffered an eye injury within the first 30 seconds of the match due to an accidental head but and was unable to finish the match, which gave Alliance six points and cut the Carrollton lead to one point at 18-17.
Alex Bailey (106) gave the Aviators their first lead of the night when he pinned Jayden Zbuka late in the first period. Brandon Brown (113) got the points back for the Warriors with a pin of Hogan Wade with just over a minute left in the first period and gave them a lead they would not relinquish.
Robbie Hoopes (120) extended the lead when he pinned Josh Brooks 1:23 into the first period. In one of the closest matches of the night, Aviator Nashawn Gaffney (126) won a hard-fought 9-8 decision over Nathan Blake and Brayden Carter (132) fought hard to prevent a takedown in the final 30 seconds of the match to post a 4-2 decision over Joe Pennington.
Warrior Tanner Newbold (138) broke a 3-3 deadlock at the end of the second period with an escape in the final period to post a 4-3 win over Skyler Curry in the final match of the night.
“There were some really good matchups against Alliance, which made for a great dual,” said Pasiuk. We had some guys who didn’t win but saved our team points to keep us in the match. Others went out and took care of business and, in some matches, even got bonus points with a major decision, pin or technical fall.”
The Warriors will host Canton South Feb. 8 in the final home match of the season and travel to Minerva Feb. 15 for the final dual meet of the season. Action begins at 7 p.m. both nights.