Raiders take down No. 2 in state, go 3-2 in Ultimate Duals

BROOKVILLE โ€” The Ultimate Duals are known as one of the most prestigious Class AA wrestling tournaments in the state.

Four of the top six teams, along with two other top-notch programs, visited Brookville for the 16th-annual Johnson Motors Ultimate Duals.

The Raiders had a successful day, most notably earning a win over second-ranked Fort LeBoeuf, 34-30, in their second match of the day.

"That definitely was kind of a momentum swing, and it was a good way to get the day started," Brookville head coach Dave Klepfer said. "We wrestled well against Benton in the opening match, and we knew we were going to have to wrestle just about perfect to beat Fort LeBoeuf."

And Brookville did just that โ€” together, they earned eight bout wins, while giving up only two pins.

At 145, Brodie Zacherl was first slated to take on Fort LeBoeuf's Kody Pace, and Zacherl earned a 5-0 decision to start the Raiders off on the right foot.

"We knew that was one of the swing bouts," Klepfer said. "We knew as soon as he won, ... we had to do our job everywhere else, and we had a real good chance of beating them."

Pace was ranked eighth in the state in his weight class heading into the Ultimate Duals, and Klepfer said Zacherl's win was the biggest of his career.

"(Brodie) beat a really good kid, who was ranked first in the region," Klepfer said. "(Brodie) doesn't get out of position too often; he's a really smart wrestler, and he's extremely tough on top. We ended up turning him for the win there, and that's what sealed it."

Fort LeBoeuf's Taylor Fox earned a 3-2 decision over sophomore Zach Vroman to tie the match at three, but Brookville senior Brett Smith turned the tables again with a 10-0 major decision over Taylor Harrington.

The Bison earned their first pin when Craig Cihon earned the best of Taylor Cudworth in 1:29 to take a 9-7 lead for his team, but after Tyler Dombrowski earned a 8-0 major decision, it was the last time Fort LeBoeuf would lead the match.

At 195, Logan Stout earned a pin over Gage Salusky in exactly one minute, and Brookville's lead was spread to 17-9.

The Raiders then elected to forfeit the 220-pound match in order to move Jacob Cieleski up to the heavyweight match. Klepfer said this was a conscious decision because he knew the Raiders were facing a tough 285-bout. But Cieleski was up to the job, and he earned a 2-0 decision over Nate Conti.

"We took our chances; we gambled; we beat a pretty solid heavyweight, and it was the difference," Klepfer said. "(Jacob) and Brodie were the big moves in the match that really sealed it for us."

The teams swapped six points when Brookville's Devin Joiner and Fort LeBoeuf's George McGuire both earned pins, and each team picked up an extra three with decision wins.

Brookville led 29-24 when Jimmy Miller took the mat, and Miller only needed 4:58 to earn a 15-0 technical fall over Tony Brown and seal the victory for the Raiders.

"Any time you can beat a team like that, really anyone that's ranked ahead of you, is a huge way to get the guys going," Klepfer said. "Some of the younger guys, it was good to get those guys exposed to this kind of atmosphere before the team duals coming up, especially the ninth-graders."

The Raiders started off the day by storming to a 50-20 victory over Benton, during which Zacherl, Cieleski and Daulton Zimmerman all earned pins. Perhaps the biggest win of the Benton match was when Zach Vroman notched a 8-4 decision over 18th-ranked Jeric Kasunic.

After stealing a win from Fort LeBoeuf, the Raiders continued to bring the surge in their match-up against fourth-ranked Biglerville.

"Once you get the ball rolling, it's definitely easy to keep it rolling," Klepfer said.

The Raiders started off well with Smith earning a 15-1 major decision to give the Raiders the early 4-3 lead, and when Cudworth was given the forfeit victory, Brookville lead by seven. Although Dombrowski was taken down by Biglerville's Joe Hurda in a 7-6 decision, Stout easily earned those points back and then some with a pin over Eric Showers in 1:27.

At 106, Joiner had a tough match against Brady Mentzer, which was tied at two-all after the second period. Joiner earned the advantage in the third, though, and eventually pinned Mentzer in 5:10.

"Devin Joiner getting in a pin in a tied match in the third period was absolutely huge," Klepfer said. "Devin really stepped up (Saturday) and got two huge wins for us."

From there, the Canners began to pose a comeback and heading into the final match at 145, Biglerville had a one-point advantage. But Zacherl stepped up when it mattered most, and he earned a pin in 1:52 over Dustin Grubbs.

"Brodie (earned) the big pin at the end ... when we were down by one with the match on the line," Klepfer said. "Those are the type of kids that I want to send out there."

With Zacherl's pin fall victory, the Raiders earned their third victory of the day, 38-33.

Brookville then had a break before taking on third-ranked Reynolds, which was also undefeated for the day heading into the match. But the Raiders finally met their downfall and suffered a 38-19 defeat.

"(Reynolds) just won all the close matches; they won (two) overtimes and won two more close ones at 106 and 170," Klepfer said of the match. "Those are big swings. You start talking about winning those matches, and that's a 21-point swing. That tightens it up real quick."

At 182, Dombrowski was the first Raider to earn a bout victory with a 2-1 decision in overtime, and Stout gave Brookville the lead with 11-2 major decision, but then Reynolds began to take over.

Reynolds won four bouts in a row before Brookville could find another victory with Constable sealing up a 12-4 major decision.

Zimmerman also wrestled a close match against Reynolds' Mason McCollum but was taken down at the last second for a loss.

Vroman, on the other hand, was the one to earn a last-second takedown and notched a 5-4 decision victory.

Smith finished up the match at 160 with a 15-0 technical fall in 2:15 over Tyler Miller, but it was too little, too late, and Brookville had lost its first dual of the day.

"I'm hoping we'll get another crack at (Reynolds) when we have everyone where we're supposed to," Klepfer said. "If we do, it'll be at Hershey, so I'm really hoping that happens."

The final dual was the closest one for Brookville, and with some questionable refereeing and some missed opportunities, the Raiders fell 31-30 to Pen Argyl. The only pin for the Raiders came from Constable, who took down Patrick Gerou in 3:19.

The dual also saw the return of Brock Zacherl, who has been suffering from a hip injury for most of the season. During his return, Zacherl earned a 14-4 major decision over Jarett Stoelzl at 138.

"It was great having him back," Klepfer said. "There's nothing that prepares you for matches better than matches. It's just one of those things where you have to get out there and burn your lungs out, and he did a good job for us (Saturday). He was tired there at the end, but he was still working hard."

Heading into the final bout at 170, the Raiders trailed 31-16, and Smith needed a pin fall for a Brookville victory. He matched up against Pen Argyl's Kyler Kutzler, who played extremely defensively throughout the entire match. Although Smith wrestled well, he came up just short, due to those defensive maneuvers.

"It definitely seemed like it was one-sided with the warnings and stall warnings," Klepfer said. "But we blew opportunities when we didn't pick up bonus points in certain matches, and we blew our opportunities when we gave up majors in the last few seconds. I'm not going to blame anything on something like that."

Although the Raiders lost their final two duals Saturday, they came away with three victories, which Klepfer said was what he had expected and hoped for.

"We had a pretty good weekend; we thought three wins was a possibility with the situation were in right now with our lineup," Klepfer said. "We thought three would be a good weekend for us, so I guess, all in all, we had a pretty good weekend."

Klepfer said he was most impressed with the attitude and the strength and vigor the Raiders showed throughout the day.

"Aside from wins and losses, I thought we brought a whole different kind of energy to the gym (Saturday) โ€” definitely a whole lot different energy than we had at DuBois," Klepfer said. "I just told the guys, it's kind of crazy how much we can improve in one week's time, and I think that was the case tonight."

Stout and Smith were the only two Raiders to go undefeated on the day, and Klepfer said he was not surprised by the effort the duo put in Saturday.

"They're just great kids; we have a lot of great kids on the team, but they are the ones that do the extra work," Klepfer said. "They're the ones that do everything right. They're fun to coach; you don't really have to coach them a whole lot. They just do the right things, and they listen to what you say, and the results are shown."