HCHS edges Roanoke Rapids
ROANOKE RAPIDS– When the Roanoke Rapids Yellow Jackets and Hertford County Bears wrestling teams competed in Ahoskie one month ago, it ended with a HCHS victory in a 42-42 tiebreaker.
Hertford Country’s wrestling team has become accustomed to close matches this year, with eight of its matches ending on scores within margins one match. Thursday night’s clash would raise that total to nine.
With HC forfeiting two weight classes and RR forfeiting one, the Jackets would lead 6-0 before the first whistle was blown. Just 11 matches were left to separate the non-conference rivals.
Hertford County’s Breagan Whittington, in his first match back from a six week ankle injury, scored three team points with a 6-11 decision at the 145 pound weight class.
A loss by pin at 152 put the Bears down 6-3. At 160, Donarius Dunn pinned his opponent with a banana split in the second period to recapture the lead for HC at 9-6.
Team Captain Ray’Quan Horton extended the team’s lead to 13-6 with a 10-point major decision at 170. Grant Gatling took just over one and half minutes to earn a pin at 182 and tack on six more team points for the Bears. After a void at 195, the Bears were held a seven point lead.
Junior Aaron Pruden’s opponent out-weighted him by over 20 pounds at the 220 pound weight class. Pruden found himself nearly taken down in the opening seconds, but recovered as they both stumbled out of bounds. Pruden was nearly taken down again before recovering to secure the take down for himself and winning by pin in 36 seconds.
The Jackets won by pin at heavyweight, but their forfeit at 106 left the score at 31-18. A closely contested match at 113 resulted in a four-point victory for Hertford County’s Morris Brockington, adding three more team points for the Bears.
Roanoke Rapids won by pin at 120, which narrowed the team score to 34-24 with only three matches remaining.
With Roanoke Rapids guaranteed six points for a forfeit at 132, the Bears needed at least one win from their remaining two wrestlers to pull off a team win.
Captain Anthony Turner took the pressure off his teammate by bumping up a weight class and pinning his 126 pound opponent with a cradle in 39 seconds. After the 132 forfeit the score was 40-30, and the match was in hand. Roanoke Rapids won by pin at the final weight class, but it was too little too late, making the final score 40-36.
Hertford County Head Coach Rich Halas commented after the whirlwind, “Every match is key in a contest this close, with an opponent so evenly matched. The main difference between tonight and last time was having Whittington in the line-up. He got us three points at 145 instead of losing six points there, which we did last time without him. That’s a nine-point swing in our favor, and without those nine points tonight we’d be looking a close defeat rather than a narrow victory.”