The numbers can be quite deceiving

Punxsy picks up win, but struggles on the mat

PUNXSUTAWNEY โ€” Although some follow the old adage, "The numbers never lie," Tuesday night's wrestling match between the Chucks and the Clarion Bobcats proved to be a counterexample to the theory, with the Bobcats falling 30-21 to Punxsy despite only losing one match on the mat.

Marred by injuries, Clarion's squad dressed just five grapplers Tuesday, and four of the five earned victories.

Punxsy's only win on the mat came in heartbreaking fashion for the already- depleted Bobcats, as it ended just 10 seconds in when Tanner James, in his first action for the Chucks this season, was taking down Rosco Bickel, and Bickel landed awkwardly on his arm. The match was stopped due to an apparent shoulder injury, and the remainder of the matches were wiped out, as Clarion had no more wrestlers to send to the mat in the remaining weight classes.

"I really feel for Rob Sintobin and the Clarion coaching staff and kids over there," Punxsy head coach Eric Eddy said after the match. "They came in here with just five kids due to a bunch of injuries, and then, they suffered another one here tonight. You don't know how bad it is, but it could be season-ending. You put a lot of time in, and then you start getting kids injured. It makes for a long season."

Eddy was also sure to point out that neither combatant really did anything to cause the injury. It's just something that happens in a physical sport.

"Tonight was Tanner's first action as a Punxsy wrestler this season," Eddy said. "He came out and had a nice ankle pick, turned it into a lift, and it's just unfortunate it ended in an injury default. Nobody did anything wrong there, it's just what happened in the context of the match."

The match started at 220 pounds with Punxsy's Tyler Titus surprised to see Andrew Bigley answer the call, as Bigley had been announced at 195 pounds in the intros.

The two danced around the mat the entire first period with neither finding an opening to strike, and the bout went to the second period scoreless.

Bigley started down in the second period, and earned an escape and a takedown to take a 3-0 lead before forcing Titus to his back with 44 seconds remaining in the period to give Clarion a 6-0 lead.

With no match at 285, Punxsy took the lead with a pair of forfeit wins by Andrew Bullers and Joel Bowers at 106 and 113 pounds, respectively.

Matt Burke was the next Chuck to take to the mat against Riley Gunter of Clarion at 120 pounds.

Burke earned a quick takedown for a 2-0 edge, but before the first period ended, Gunter answered with a reversal. Burke earned an escape in the waning seconds of the period to regain a one-point edge and cap a high-scoring period.

The rest of the match saw just two more points, though, and those came on a Gunter reversal in the third period, giving him a 4-3 advantage and a three-point decision.

"Even though he didn't win, Matt wrestled really well tonight," Eddy said. "The guy he wrestled has beat him in the past really soundly, and Matt just made a couple of little mistakes that could have made a difference in the match. Those are things we can work on without a problem."

Clarion kept the back-and-forth going at 126 pounds, regaining the team lead when Jacob Troutman pinned Josh Schuckers with just 19.4 seconds left after Schuckers had led 2-0 entering the third period.

"Josh was winning his match, and he managed to get into a Merkle position," Eddy said. "When it started getting scary, he unlocked his hands. In that position, you just can't unlock your hands. If you keep them locked, nothing bad can happen to you."

Punxsy regained the lead for good with forfeit victories by Neko Cappella and Perry Arrington at 132 and 138 pounds, respectively, to give the Chucks a 24-15 lead.

Clarion pulled back within three at 145 pounds when Tyler Allen, trailing 4-3 late in the third period, took down Caesar Maruca with 20 seconds left in the match and then forced his shoulder to the mat for six points.

"In three of our losses tonight โ€” Tyler's, Josh's and Caesar's โ€” it was almost like an inability to pull the trigger," Eddy said. "It was inaction. They had opportunities to score. At the end, Caesar was winning 4-3 and had a leg. All he had to do was lower his level and change it to a double hold to negate the move."

Three points was as close as the Bobcats would come, though, as Bickel's injury 10 seconds into the 152 bout brought the match to a standstill.

Punxsy decided to concede the forfeit points out of respect for the Bobcats, and the match ended at 30-21.

With Eddy not liking how things played out on the mat, the Chucks will be hard at work to correct their mistakes before heading to the New Oxford tournament this weekend.

"We're back in action Friday and Saturday at the New Oxford individual tournament," Eddy said. "Hopefully, we get things righted here. We wrestled a great match a week ago against Redbank Valley, and then we came back tonight and didn't even look like the same team. So hopefully, we'll pick things up for our first individual tournament of the season."

Eddy said an individual tournament is just what the Chucks need with the postseason rapidly approaching.

"It's nice going into New Oxford this late in the season because it's good preparation for districts and regionals," he said.