FAIRVIEW VILLAGE >> It’s been a happy homecoming for Brad Clark thus far.
And it doesn’t figure to end any time soon.
Compiling an 8-2 record in the first month of the season has been a source of joy for Methacton and its first-year head coach, who’s back in charge of a wrestling program for which he competed in the mid-2000s. The joy continued Wednesday with the Warriors pulling out a 36-31 victory over Pottsgrove in one of the six divisional-crossover matches on the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s schedule.
“It’s such a privilege being here. It really is,” Clark said after the match ended with an exchange of forfeits, Methacton ending up with the edge. “It almost hasn’t settled in yet.”
A 126-win upperweight wrestler and three time PIAA medalist during his scholastic time at Methacton, Clark has the Warriors on a fast track similar to the 14-4 run they made last winter. They came off a productive weekend visit to West Virginia for the Parkersburg south Duals, where they were 3-2 against some top-flight talent.
“Parkersburg South is ranked 35th nationally, and LaSalle (Ohio) is 11th nationally,” he said of Methacton’s opposition. “The experience is great for our program. We came back tonight and responded.”
The back-and-forth match with Pottsgrove (8-6), showing 10 lead changes — eight in the span of a like number of weights — saw Methacton leading 30-25 following a 138-pound bout the Falcons’ Jacquin Allen took 4-1. The visitors took a brief 31-30 lead when Methacton forfeited the 145 weight class to Stephen Hennelly, but it lasted only as long as it took for Sam Rennie to get his arm raised for a similar outcome at 152.
“We had kids who were sick and couldn’t wrestle,” Pottsgrove head coach Jeff Madden explained. “We needed to have more points at that time.
“We could have won,” he added, “but it would have taken all 14 (weights) for it to happen in that situation. We knew we couldn’t fill that spot.”
The Warriors also awarded a forfeit of 106 to Pottsgrove, which held a 19-15 lead at that midway point in the night’s card. Still, Methacton was able to overcome that shortfall by scoring falls in four of the five contested weights it won.
“We had a couple starters missing,” Clark said. “Coaching against a legend like Coach Madden … it took every team member to come through.”
Tonee Ellis, who gritted out a 3-1 decision of Isaac Hanna at 285, upped his season record to 13-5 with the 50th victory of his career. The junior broke up a 1-1 draw through two periods with an escape from a bottom start and a penalty point.
“The team is doing okay,” he said, “but there are still things we should do to improve. After losing two (at South Parkersburg Duals), we have to improve and keep moving.”
An exchange of pins at the start — Richard Armstrong for Methacton at 160, Noah Miller for Pottsgrove at 170 — preceded Zachary Van Horn’s decision at 182, staking the Falcons to a 9-6 advantage.
Then the back-and-forth scenario kicked into gear. Tom McGowan put Methacton back on top, 12-9, with a second-period drop at 195, before Skylar McLeod’s major decision at 220 gave Pottsgrove a one-point (13-12) edge.
Ellis’ decision and Tony Lindgren accepting the forfeit at 106 had the Falcons up 19-15, but Corey Morabito scored a first-period pin at 113 for a 21-19 Methacton lead. Charles Sithens got the Falcons back another one-point (22-21) lead at 120, though he missed out on a major verdict when Jorge Carmona scored three points late in the third.
Will Rebert followed with a first-period fall at 126 for the Warriors, and Kibwe McNair added a decision at 132 for the home team.
“38 (Allen) wrestled real well,” Madden said. “That was one of the better matches. Skylar did a nice job, and so did Zach at 82.”
Methacton will look to continue its roll Thursday by hosting Archbishop Wood, and Saturday with a visit to Souderton for the Big Red Duals.
“So far, we’re doing very well,” Clark said. “The team has a good nucleus through the youth program. We have five good quality leaders, and a bunch of solid veteran kids. They’re stepping up, learning our philosophy then coming out here and pinning people.”
Pottsgrove is also on a roll, having already surpassed last year’s six-win record. The Falcons will travel to Norristown Thursday for another PAC crossover match, then open their Frontier Division schedule next Wednesday by hosting Upper Merion.
NOTES >> The teams were even in first-period takedowns, each scoring five. … Methacton had a 4-3 edge on Pottsgrove in penalty points. … Ellis on the work ethic Clark brought to his post: “The big thing is, we drill nonstop. At this point, it’s second nature to us. It helps us; we don’t get tired out on the mats.” … Pottsgrove was coming off its own duals experience this past weekend: A fourth-place, 3-2 finish at Twin Valley’s Raider Duals.
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