Bears beat Broncos

Published 9:20 am Friday, December 21, 2012

AHOSKIE—Most wrestlers will agree that with practice and persistence opportunities will present themselves throughout a full season.

The Hertford county High School Bears capitalized on several such opportunities Thursday night when the Broncos of Franklin High School visited the HCHS gym. Due to several injuries, Bears’ Coach Rich Halas spread the line-up thinly, but was able to place an athlete in every single weight class, giving up no forfeits.

Hertford County’s 106-pounder, Dason Joell lost the night’s first match by two points after throwing a desperate headlock with 15 seconds left in the match when he was down by one. His opponent went careening to the mat, but when his grip slipped he was called for an illegal headlock. Joell’s two-point loss only cost the Bears three team points, whereas conceding a forfeit or losing by pin or would have cost them six. The 3-0 start was the only lead the Broncos enjoyed all night.

Morris Borckington delivered the Bears six points with the first pin of the evening with 33 seconds remaining in his match. After Franklin’s 132-pound starter came in overweight, the Broncos gave up forfeits at 120, 126, and 132.

Without sophomore starter Domonique Douglas, who was hurt two days prior, Halas placed rookie Dashawn Mizzle at 120, and bumped Tylik Britt to 126. Senior and team captain Anthony Turner was nursing a sore ankle and worried he couldn’t wrestle at 126 as he usually does, but he was well enough to walk out for a forfeit at 132.

Rookie Roddrek Branch took on Xavier Freeman, one of Franklin’s best wrestlers according to his head coach, Daniel Johnson. Branch battled for nearly two periods before losing by a pin.

When the Bears lost their 145-pound starter due to an injury and team disciplinary issues, Halas called upon sophomore Chris Williams to fill the void. Williams taught everyone a lesson in perseverance as his daily attendance and hard work in practice paid off. After being taken down and fighting off his back, Williams wore down his opponent in the second period, and won by pin.

Junior and team captain Dylan Waterfield continued the onslaught with a pin at 152. With starter Ray’Quan Horton out with an illness, rookie Gemiah took his place at 160 but lost in the first period.

Senior Donarius Dunn missed weighing 160 by four tenths of a pound, but still won his match at 170 by a decision. With the score tied 2-2 going into the third, Halas told him plainly, “you’re going to escape, keep your head up, and take him down to finish it. You’re going to win this match 5-2.” It took everything an exhausted Dunn had to bring the prediction to fruition.

Grant Gatling followed up Dunn’s victory with a first period pin at 182. The 171.4 pound Kendail Swain won his match at the 195 pound weight class by pin in the third period. Captain Aaron Pruden then accepted a forfeit at 220 to tack six more points on the Bears’ side of the scoreboard.

Franklin did win by pin at heavyweight, but it was too little too late as the 57-21 route was decided before the final match began.

The Bears wrestle conference rival Northeastern High School for their final home meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, January 3. They lost to the Eagles in a tiebreaker on the Dec. 18 and will be hungry for revenge.