Punxsy impressive despite loss to Beavers

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Despite what resembles a disappointing night on the scoreboard, Punxsy head coach Eric Eddy was well pleased with his team's performance in a 50-20 loss to the DuBois Beavers Thursday night in Punxsutawney — the Chucks' regular season finale.

"Overall, it was a very good match tonight," Eddy said. "The guys wrestled very well. There were some tight matches, and overall, I'm very pleased with our performance."

The Chucks entered the contest on a 4-0 tear in dual matches, but they knew they'd have their hands full with the Beavers, who claimed the District IX Class-AAA team title Feb. 4 in DuBois.

"They're a great team," Eddy said. "They've showed it all season long, and they showed it at the state tournament. I thought we wrestled them well tonight."

The dual meet started out a back-and-forth affair, with DuBois drawing first blood.

Punxsy's Tanner James squared off against Mike Kennelly in the first bout, and Kennelly earned a pair of first-period takedowns to set the score at 4-1 after the first period.

James' nose started to bleed in the first period, and the match was stopped multiple times for blood timeouts.

James fought through the injury, though, and after starting down in the second, he escaped Kennelly's grasp, quickly took him down and nearly landed a pin fall.

While he couldn't pin him, James did manage three back points to take a 7-4 lead after two.

Kennelly dominated the third period, starting down and earning a quick reversal to pull within one.

He allowed James back to his feet, giving James the two-point edge back, but he soon took him down and managed a pin at 4:49 of the match.

"We were winning 7-4 at 152 pounds, but we got reversed and pinned," Eddy said. "Tanner wrestled well. He just made a little mistake. We made little mistakes here and there, and they're a great team. Little mistakes will cost you."

Punxsy's Seth Spack took the mat next at 160 pounds and earned the Chucks six points handily.

Spack took on DuBois' Shane Marshal, and the only scoring in the first period was a takedown by Spack.

Leading 2-0, Spack reversed Marshal early in the second period, and after a Marshal escape, Spack took him down again, flipped him and managed a pin midway through the period.

"Seth was up a weight class, so that didn't give us a head-to-head for districts seeding," Eddy said. "Hopefully, that won't hurt us, but it was nice for him to get that win."

At 170, the Chucks' Carl Langley faced off against DuBois' Geno Morelli, and Morelli used brute force to dominate the scoreboard.

Langley battled hard the entire match and prevented a technical fall, but Morelli earned DuBois four points for a major decision and gave the Beavers a 10-6 lead.

Punxsy pulled back within one point when Josh Neal took to the mats against Brady Haines and won a 2-1 decision.

The first period went scoreless, with both combatants remaining neutral, and the second went scoreless as well, as Neal battled to escape Haines but failed to do so.

Neal started down in the third period and earned a reversal to take a 2-0 lead.

Haines' only point came on a call for an interlocked hands hold on Neal, but Neal held on for the win, giving his team three points.

"Josh Neal wrestled a great match," Eddy said. "He wrestled for six minutes, and that's always been one of his weaknesses. He has always been a great wrestler for four or five minutes, and then he'd have that small mental lapse that cost him the match. But he's been improving on that over the last few weeks of the season. I'm really pleased with that."

Neal's match pulled Punxsy back within one team point, but unfortunately for the Chucks, DuBois went on a eight-match tear, including a pair of forfeits to start it for the Beavers' Nick Davido at 195 pounds and Landon Hanna at 220.

Punxsy's Tyler Titus bumped up a class and answered the bell at 285 pounds, where he met DuBois' Kyle Dixon, who was just too much for Titus, flipping him early in the second period for a pin at 2:12.

Bryce Swauger kept the good times rolling for DuBois at 106 pounds, as the match switched to the lightweights by earning a pin over Andrew Bullers in just 39 seconds.

Punxsy's Joel Bowers battled Anthony Vizza at 113 pounds in what Eddy called a "tight match" despite an 8-3 final decision in Vizza's favor.

"Joel and Vizza had a very tight match," Eddy said. "Vizza had some really nice takedowns and looked nice on his feet. Joel wrestled him well, and we knew that'd be a tough one for us."

Punxsy was also handed a technical penalty for arguing a call in the 113-pound match, lowering its team total to eight.

At 120 pounds, Punxsy's Devan Snyder came out on a tear, taking down Cody Cox early. While it seemed Snyder was in control of the match, Cox turned the tides, quickly reversing Snyder and ending up with a pin at 1:07.

"That was another match we were winning and got reversed and pinned," Eddy said. "It was those little mistakes."

Garrett Brown concluded the eight-class sweep for the Beavers with a 4-1 decision over Punxsy's Josh Schuckers.

All the scoring came in the first period, as Brown scored four points on a pair of takedowns and Schuckers picked up one for an escape.

Brown stalled for the remainder of the match, starting down in both periods, and held on for the 4-1 decison to extend DuBois' lead to 46-8.

Punxsy made the most of a bad situation on the scoreboard by winning the next two bouts, with Neko Cappella starting things off at 132 pounds with a pin over Andrew Williams.

"We thought they'd bump Brown up for Neko at 132, but when they left him at 126, Josh did well wrestling him, and Neko did well in his match, too," Eddy said.

Cappella toyed with Williams throughout the first period, earning takedowns and allowing escapes to set the score at 10-4 after one.

Williams opted to start down in the second period, and it took Cappella a minute to maneuver him into a pinned position.

At 138 pounds, Punxsy's Perry Arrington picked up a second-consecutive victory via pin over D.J. Carney in three minutes, just four seconds earlier than Cappella's pin came.

Arrington dominated the entire match, picking up a takedown and two three-point awards for near falls in the first period.

Arrington took Williams down again in the second period and moved him to his back to bring Punxsy back to 46-20.

The dual ended with DuBois' Tom Sleigh earning a major decision over Caesar Maruca at 145 pounds. Maruca battled hard the entire way throughout, and nearly reversed Sleigh late. But the final score was 17-3, giving DuBois a 50-20 win.

With the dual meet season over, Punxsy will now turn its focus to preparations for the individual Districts Tournament Feb. 25 at Clarion University.

"We're going into districts knowing the things we need to work on after tonight," Eddy said. "That's what we'll spend the next week doing: Working on those little things. But the kids did a very good job tonight."