JH wins on mat, finishes season with team loss to DuBois

PUNXSUTAWNEY — As was the case a majority of their matches this season, the members of the Punxsy junior high wrestling team found themselves at a disadvantage Thursday against DuBois with Punxsy forced to forfeit in five weight classes, giving the Beavers an insurmountable edge in a 54-31 victory.

Without counting forfeits in the team scores, though, Punxsy would have been victorious, 25-12, in the bouts that took place on the mats.

Despite six losses in the team competitions, the Chucks finished their season without losing a match all season, going 12-0-1, with just one tie against Clearfield.

"That's pretty much how it went all season," Punxsy head coach Bill Burke said. "On the regular season, we finished just above .500 (7-6). We really can't be too upset about that considering our numbers. However, when you look at how we did on the mats, we finished undefeated. So, that being said, these guys have something to be proud of."

Punxsy jumped out to an early lead in the contest at 165 pounds, with Travis Perry pinning DuBois' Colin Thompson in just 40 seconds, giving the Chucks a 6-0 lead.

Unfortunately, it was the final time the Chucks would lead the team score for the evening, as DuBois' Nick Anderson and Ian Truitt picked up forfeits at 185 and 250 pounds, and between the forfeits, Robert Zilhaver pinned Punxsy's Austin Covatch to give DuBois an 18-6 lead when the match switched to the lightweights.

Burke noted the forfeits, which have always been a problem, were an even worse issue Thursday due to some Chucks' illnesses keeping their grapplers off the mat.

"The DuBois match was pretty much what I anticipated," Burke said. "I knew they would have a big team, so we would have that against us. What made it worse, though, was that we had two more regular starters out due to illness. Ryan Jones and Keegan Fischer could have made a huge difference in this meet. If you could have had those two in there, the final score may have ended in our favor by one. That's the way it goes sometimes, though."

With no match at 75 pounds, Punxsy traded a pair of forfeits with the Beavers, who chose not to match Kyle Frantz with Punxsy's Zoie Smith at 80 pounds and instead bumped him to 85 pounds after Smith checked in.

"We were hoping for a match at 80 pounds," Burke said. "We bumped Zoie up, and for whatever reason, they chose to bump away from her and give her a forfeit. I wasn't really expecting that. I thought we were there to wrestle, but one more time, that's the way it goes, sometimes."

Eli Lambiotte dominated his opponent, Brock Adams, at 90 pounds to pick up a 14-0 major decision and pull Punxsy back within eight.

But three consecutive DuBois wins via forfeit put the match away, with Matt Kennelly (95 pounds), Nick Troisi (100), and Steve Jacobson (105) all earning six points to set the score at 42-16.

There was no match at 110 pounds, and Punxsy's Kaleb Young was dominant in a victory over DuBois' Noah Schneider in just 49 seconds.

Levi Campbell earned a convincing 7-0 decision over DuBois' Cole Bressler at 130 pounds to keep Punxsy's successes on the mats amas-sing, but DuBois' Zak Davis pinned John Mark Miller to put an end to Punxsy's streak on the mat and give DuBois a 48-25 lead with just two classes remaining.

In the final bout on the mats, Punxsy's Jeff Bottenhorn pinned DuBois' David Henninger early in the third period, at 3:13, to earn six points for his squad.

Matt Agosti wrapped up the match for the Beavers with six points via forfeit at 155 pounds, setting the final score at 54-31.

The junior high teams' night concluded with an exhibition match, during which Punxsy's Travis Perry pinned Vince Foringer in 1:25.

Overall, while Burke was a bit disappointed with the numbers and bad luck Punxsy had, he was far from disappointed with his team's performance on the season.

"Overall, we have to consider this a pretty darn good season," he said. "Being that we had to deal with low numbers right from the start, and then we suffered several injuries and sickness throughout the whole campaign to add salt to our wounds, we still came out of it with a winning record."

Burke also wanted to be certain that credit was given where credit was due to all those who helped him this season.

"I just want to thank my assistant coaches, DJ Gould and Mark Smith, for helping with the success," he said. "We know next year is looking pretty shaky as far as numbers go too, so we’re going to have to put our heads together to see if we can do something about that situation. I also give thanks to the entire Punxsy coaching staff, both above and below me, for another good season."