Chucks edge Ridgway on mat, lose after three forfeits

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Though it lost 39-28 to Ridgway Thursday night at home, the Punxsy wrestling team took solace in a victory on the mat, as three forfeits helped the Elkers secure the 11-point victory.

In the 11 bouts that were wrestled, Punxsy (6-7) outscored Ridgway, 28-21 — winning six matches. That includes three victories by fall, a major decision win and two triumphs by decision.

"These guys are well-coached," Punxsy head coach Eric Eddy said about Ridgway. "To out-score them on the mat, that's an accomplishment. That doesn't happen every day. We're really happy with the way the boys performed."

Of Ridgway's five non-forfeit wins, it earned two falls and three decisions.

Punxsy took a 13-6 lead through four bouts, as its highly-talented row of Neko Cappella (12-1), Kody Young (10-1) and Seth Spack (10-2) were each victorious at 130, 135 and 145 pounds, respectively.

After taking that 13-6 advantage, Punxsy wouldn't score again until Tige Woodson (6-6) registered a decision at 215 pounds. By then, Ridgway was ahead 21-13.

The Chucks jumped ahead 28-27 by the time freshmen Josh Schuckers (6-6) and Joel Bowers (8-3) won by fall, but Ridgway's Corey Bush and Trevor Delhunty each won by forfeit to clinch the Elkers' win.

Cappella earned a hard-fought 5-2 decision over Dakota Dahler, allowing just a pair of escape points. A takedown during each of the first two periods secured Cappella's victory.

Young bounced back from his first-ever home loss last Thursday by pinning Zac McKnight in just 27 seconds, and Punxsy's third win came from Spack, who major decisioned Brett Himes, 14-4.

Spack was scoring at will during the first period, taking a 10-2 advantage into the second period after three takedowns and four back points.

Spack slowed down during the final four minutes, scoring just two takedowns.

Woodson and his opponent, Chad Quail, went back-and-forth at 215 pounds. Woodson trailed 2-0 after a Quail takedown, but things were tied at two entering the second period after a Woodson reversal.

Three-straight reversals ensued during the second period, with the third propelling Woodson to a 6-4 win.

"His transitions were crisp," Eddy said. "He won only 6-4, but he was trying some things and got a little sloppy at times."

Both Schuckers and Bowers earned victories by fall during the third period. Schuckers pinned Cody Stahl in 4:20 after leading 10-2, and Bowers took care of Ricky Javier after building an 8-3 advantage.

"Our young guys down low — Schuckers and Bowers — did a real, real nice job," Eddy said. "I can't say enough about what they did."

Caesar Maruca (5-7) suffered Punxsy's first loss at 140 pounds. After trailing 6-0 to Slade Horner during the second period, Maruca lost by fall in 3:14.

With Punxsy ahead 13-6, the Elkers won three-straight bouts by decision to leap ahead 15-13.

The first came from Kyle Caggiano, who decisioned Nathan McGregor (9-3), 5-0. An illegal hold that was contested by Punxsy's coaches helped Caggiano score his first point, and he added a first-period takedown and two third-period back points.

Another shutout in Ridgway's favor came from Jake Himes, who took out Duell Thompson (7-5), 4-0. A second-period reversal and takedown with 54 seconds left clinched Jake Himes' win.

Another low-scoring affair occurred at 171 pounds, with D.J. Skraba leading Carl Langley (5-6) by a 2-0 margin entering the third period.

With Langley on top, Skraba wiggled free before putting Langley onto his back. Langley worked for nearly a minute to get off his back and even reversed the action late in the third period, but his comeback attempt was far too late during a 7-2 defeat.

Another exciting bout took place at 189 pounds, as Josh Neal (1-7) scored four-straight points and nearly put Seth Stahl on his back to erase a 2-0 deficit. Down 4-2, Seth Stahl used a headlock takedown that took Neal to his back for the fall in 2:24.

"Josh had a great chance to win that match," Eddy said. "If you're going to wrestle up top and get sloppy, that's what happens."

Jesse Sheasley, Corey Bush and Trevor Delhunty each earned forfeit wins for Ridgway.

The Chucks remain at home for the next week, as they host Redbank Valley Wednesday night.

"There are a lot of things we need to improve on, but not things we can't (improve)," Eddy said.