FALLS TWP. – The last time Pennsbury sophomore Davis Lee wrestled Truman senior Alex Litz was last season in a dual meet where both Lee and the Falcons came up short by 11 points.
In a 39-28 triumph for the Tigers in February, Lee lost 11-0 to Litz.
This time, both Lee and Pennsbury emerged victorious with the Falcons topping Truman 43-36 and Davis nipping Litz 15-13 in a wild and wooly 220-pound matchup that had to be stopped numerous times to prevent blood splatter and once to allow Lee to lose a couple of Tastycakes he consumed before the bout.
“I wrestled pretty poorly the last time; I just didn’t feel like I was in my element,” said Lee. “This time, I was preparing; I was watching a lot of film from last year.
“I had to see how I could beat him; I just applied that tonight and it worked.”
Tied 2-2 early on, Lee took a 5-3 lead into the second period with a late first-period reversal and a back-point. Another takedown put Lee on top 8-3 early in the second stanza, though a reversal by Litz drew the Truman wrestler within three at 8-5.
Taking a 10-6 lead into the third period, Lee scored an early takedown to go up 12-6. But a Litz escape and a takedown with 50 seconds left drew the Tiger within a point at 14-13. Davis added a point of his own with 20 seconds remaining however to stretch his edge to two.
With 16 seconds left on the clock, Lee had to break to toss his pre-game snack into a barrel. When the duo returned to the mat, Litz lunged furiously at Lee for a takedown but came up empty. Instead, Lee clamped down on Alex until there were 2.4 ticks left on the clock.
After another break for blood on the mat, Lee came back and held off his opponent in the final seconds.
“That’s wrestling; you can’t stop and you can’t give up and (Litz) kept coming,” said Falcon coach Phil Kealy. “Fortunately, Davis was able to fend him off.”
“It was a fantastic match, and we really expected it to be that way. Alex is a tremendous wrestler; he was a regional qualifier last year. He beat Lee (11-0) last year the last time they met so Davis was hoping to go head to head with him.
“And he got it.”
Lee’s 15-13 decision win put Pennsbury up 21-12. From there, the Falcons posted a pair of pins by sophomores Eli Slaughter (285 pounds) and Ryan McGurrin (106) along with a 15-2 major decision win by Colin Miller in the 120-pound match. Together with a forfeit win by senior Mark Hertkorn (126), it staked Pennsbury to a 43-18 edge.
It was a lead the Falcons would need as the Tigers roared back with three straight pins starting with a second-period pin of Pennsbury senior Antonio Martoccio (132) by Truman junior Gunnar Fuss, a state qualifier who topped Antonio twice last season including a 4-0 decision win in the Suburban One National League Championships.
Tiger wrestlers Aaron Arena (138) and Joseph Goldey (145) – both juniors – also pinned in their respective bouts to draw Truman within seven at 43-36, though no closer.
For Lee, the win was a measure of redemption, both for himself and his teammates.
“We were coming to prove ourselves as a team in the SOL,” said Lee. “I feel like Pennsbury is looked down a lot in the SOL. People say it’s not really a good team so we were trying to make a statement.”
The declaration the Falcons affirmed Wednesday night, Dec. 20 was ‘let youth be served.’
After falling behind 6-0 early on an opening pin by Truman senior Estephen Salguero in the 152-pound matchup, Pennsbury recorded pins by sophomore Michael Molloy (160), freshman Justin Volek (170) and junior John Medina (195) to go up 18-12 heading into the exciting skirmish between Lee and Litz.
“The younger guys – the underclassmen – came through for us,” said Kealy. “They’re the ones who got the win.
“We didn’t win the tough matches with our core group but the younger guys came through and got the pins that we needed.”
Youthful grapplers stepping up for the Falcons include Molloy, who is working his first season on the varsity mat, Volek, who was competing in his first ever varsity bout, and Medina, who was wrestling in his first bout of the season after working in just two matches last year.
A sophomore who went 7-23 as a freshman, McGurrin pinned Truman 106-pounder Dylan Culver in 3:02 to go to 8-2 on the season. Another 10th-grader, Miller was part of Pennsbury’s program last year, though this is his first season on the varsity mat.
Slaughter is also a sophomore who notched just seven wins as a freshman. His 52-second pin of Tigers heavyweight Santos Rivera was his fifth thus far this season.
Pennsbury 43, Truman 36
(Dec. 20 at Pennsbury)
152 — Estephen Salguero (T) pinned Shaun Peel (2:11)
160 — Michael Molloy (P) pinned Romeo Tramel (1:19)
170 — Justin Volek (P) pinned Lythe Zeidieh (2:43)
182 — Frank Regalis (T) pinned Max Schummer (3:30)
195 — John Medina (P) pinned Ryan Buchko (1:11)
220 — Davis Lee (P) dec. Alex Litz, 15-13
285 — Eli Slaughter (P) pinned Santos Rivera (0:52)
106 — Ryan McGurrin (P) pinned Dylan Culver (3:02)
113 — Dan Baskin (T) pinned Jared Kelleher (0:44)
120 — Colin Miller (P) maj. dec. Valentin Moran, 15-2
126 — Mark Hertkorn (P) won by forfeit
132 — Gunnar Fuss (T) pinned Antonio Martoccio (2:28)
138 — Aaron Arena (T) pinned Teddy Schneider (1:50)
145 — Joseph Goldey (T) pinned Jack Karel (3:15)
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