LEWISTOWN – Mifflin County wrestling coach Kirby Martin knew the match with Harrisburg was over before it even began.
The Cougars were forfeiting six weights, an insurmountable obstacle to come back from against a solid Husky squad. All Martin wanted was to see his wrestlers stay focused and wrestle hard.
Mifflin County won six of the eight contested matches, scoring bonus points in four of those, while rolling to the 65-9 Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division victory over Harrisburg (0-2, 0-2) Thursday night.
“It was one of the things I talked about before we came out,” Martin said. “This was an easy match and it’s hard to be motivated for it because you know all the forfeits that are coming to you, but I think these kids are on a mission. They have more in mind than just kind of being complacent in a match like this.
“They want to do well against the stronger Mid-Penn teams and when the district duals roll around. I wasn’t too worried about our intensity once we were out on the mat.”
Mifflin County (7-1, 2-0) started out with a 30-0 lead thanks to forfeit victories by Noah Myers (113), Kyle Smith (120), Daulton Wilson (126), Brandon Fultz (130) and Hayden Hidlay (138).
At 145, Isaac Underhill (7-3) battled back from a 2-1 first-period deficit to earn a hard fought 6-4 win over Rashien Phillips. A reversal and two nearfall points in the second period proved to be the difference.
The Huskies made it 39-0 when Noah Stewart, now 12-2 on the season, pinned Jose Garcia in 1:49 at 152.
The Cougars got on the board when Christian Gayle scored a 17-3 major decision over Mike Bielski at 160. Gayle collected half of Harrisburg’s eight total takedowns.
Mifflin County won the next four bouts, scoring bonus points in three, to take a commanding 59-3 advantage.
Eli Habbershon caught Karrington Washington in a Peterson for a five-point move in the second period on his way to a 7-1 victory at 170.
At 182, sophomore Trey Hartsock improved to 10-4 on the season with a 3:53 fall over Sean Proctor. Hartsock was leading 4-1 when he caught Proctor in a headlock for the pin.
Timmy Pearce continued his hot wrestling with a dominating 20-5 technical fall in 5:53 over Treysean Roebuck at 195. Pearce (10-3) racked up six takedowns and three nearfall points, en route to the win.
Zane Walters made a rare varsity start a memorable win by forcing Sean Brown to quit at the 4:18 mark in their 220-pound bout. Walters took the action to a visibly tired Brown, who laid on the mat and told the referee he couldn’t continue. Harrisburg was deducted a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct when Brown argued with the official.
“I love it and I love the fact it can come from any kid in the lineup,” said Martin, when asked about Walters making Brown quit. “He got to do something that he may only get to do a couple of times in your entire career and I hope for him that was an exciting experience. He just kept plugging away.”
The Huskies were dominant from the top position, controlling the action and being aggressive, going for back points.
“We talked about weathering the storm if you were wrestling a good kid in the first period,” Martin said. “They guys we have now are really good from the top position and that hasn’t always been the case in the past. These guys have a very strong skill set from the top and we emphasize being relentless on top with the pressure.”
In the match of the night, state-ranked Andrew Brown got all he could handle from Colton Craig at 285.
A takedown for Brown and an escape for Craig made it 2-1 after one. In the second period, Brown escaped to make it 3-1. Craig scored a takedown of his own and put the Cougar senior on his back for two nearfall points. A late escape by Brown made it 5-4 after two.
Craig escaped to make it 6-4, but Brown’s experience paid off with a late takedown to force overtime with just one second left in regulation, making it 6-6.
After a scoreless minute of sudden death, Brown (5-1) reversed Craig in the first 30-second overtime and recorded the fall in 7:57.
Jonah Schultz ended the scoring with a forfeit win at 106.
Mifflin County is off for the Christmas holiday and will return to action Dec. 27, at the Powerade Tournament.
“Our first month is a heavy schedule. Last year I didn’t think we weathered that storm very well,” Martin said. “I’m very pleased with the enthusiasm of this group. They’ve handled it a lot better. Now going into the Christmas break I think will have good practices. For those kids going to Powerade they really have something to work for.”