PUNXSUTAWNEY — Redbank Valley's ability to earn major decisions and falls during five of its six victories on the mat helped it down the Punxsy wrestling team Wednesday night, 35-29.
With each team receiving a forfeit, both squads split the remaining 12 bouts, 6-6. During those six victories, Punxsy (6-8) earned three decisions, two major decisions and a fall. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs registered three wins by fall and three by major decision, leading to the six-point difference in their victory.
"What beat us were bonus points and wrestling flat," Punxsy head coach Eric Eddy said. "We didn't look good, we looked flat, and bonus points killed us."
The first 10 points of the match went to Redbank, as Willie Gruver started the night with a 14-2 major decision over freshman Joel Bowers (8-4). Gruver led 8-0 after the first period and 10-0 entering the final period before Bowers avoided the shutout and a possible loss by fall with a two-point reversal.
The Bulldogs scored six more team points when Nicholas Schrecengost pinned Devan Snyder (2-10) with 20 seconds left in the second period. Schrecengost was ahead 4-0 after the first period when he reversed the action to leap ahead 6-0 before managing the fall at 3:40.
The row of Punxsy's three best wrestlers was up next, and that's where the Chucks totaled 13-straight points to go ahead 13-10.
Things started well for Neko Cappella, whose 9-4 decision over Garret Hillebrand made it a 10-3 match.
Cappella (13-1) was aggressive while taking a 4-1 lead when an illegal move gave Hillebrand a point. Punxsy's coaches contested the ruling to no avail.
After a neutral point made it a 4-3 bout to start the second period, Cappella scored two more takedowns before the third period was scoreless.
With just two wrestlers to fill the 130-, 135- and 140-pound weight classes, the Bulldogs decided to bump around Punxsy's best wrestler, Kody Young (11-1), at 130 pounds. The forfeit was followed by Seth Spack's major decision win for the Chucks and Evan Shirey's major decision win for the Bulldogs, but Eddy wasn't happy with the move.
"They made a good move, but it's something that I completely disagree with in a district like ours. In District IX, you put the kids out there for the matches," Eddy said. "It might sound dumb ... but when you're trying to improve wrestling in the district, I don't believe in bumping around people."
In turn, what may have been a pin fall win for Young at 130 and forfeit win for Spack at 135 for 12 Punxsy points, the Chucks earned just 10 points.
Spack (11-2) was constantly looking for a pin, but he couldn't get it during a 14-5 win over Ty Haines. The bout was tied at two before Spack rolled ahead with five-straight points, including one by an escape, two via reversal and two more by putting Haines onto his back.
Haines' second reversal of the bout made it a 7-4 contest, but another reversal, three more back points and another takedown helped Spack register the major decision.
Both teams alternated wins during the next three bouts, as the lead bounced back and forth.
Evan Shirey's 10-0 major decision over Caesar Maruca (5-8) put Redbank up 14-13, but Nathan McGregor (10-3) was able to edge Aaron Hook, 2-0.
What followed was Redbank taking the lead once again after Brandon Bailey decisioned Duell Thompson (7-6), 9-3.
Shirey was ahead 7-0 entering the final period before accomplishing the major decision with three more back points. Maruca battled off his back for more than a minute to avoid the fall.
McGregor scored a takedown with 27 seconds left in the first period before the rest of his bout with Hook was scoreless, while Bailey turned a 4-2 lead into a 9-3 victory thanks to a takedown and three back points during the second period.
Cole Shirey pinned Punxsy's Carl Langley (5-7) with seven seconds left during their 160-pound bout. That pushed Redbank's lead to 23-16, but the Chucks won the next two bouts to jump ahead once again.
During the Shirey-Langley bout, Shirey was ahead 6-1 during the third period when a reversal put Langley onto his back with 80 seconds left. Langley nearly escaped with the major decision loss, but was unable to avoid the fall at 5:53.
The Chucks won the next two bouts behind Josh Neal's 2-0 decision and a Tige Woodson fall. But even though Punxsy earned both of those victories, losses by fall and forfeit during the next two bouts helped Redbank jump ahead 35-25 with just one match remaining.
"When they have six sets of bonus points, and then we win a 2-0 match, that makes a huge difference," Eddy said.
Much like McGregor, Neal (2-7) earned a 2-0 victory behind a first-period takedown. Woodson, meanwhile, was well on his way to a decision or major decision win when he took undersized Mark Strothers to his back before garnering the fall at 5:43.
Braden Bowser pinned Tyler Titus (1-9) in 2:32 at 215 before Clay Kennemuth gathered Redbank's lone forfeit win at heavyweight.
In the final bout of the night, 103-pound freshman Josh Schuckers (7-6) tallied a 13-4 major decision over Mitch Blose. Schuckers was ahead 4-3 when he separated himself from Blose with two reversals, three back points and a late takedown.
The Chucks will be back on the mat Saturday when they head to the Lewistown Duals.