Methacton uses complete team effort to down Spring-Ford

FAIRVIEW VILLAGE >> Victories aren’t always secured by a team’s star performers.

In some instances, the winning difference lies with other team members … those who don’t routinely head the statistics or garner the attention. A.J. Maida was quick to make that point Saturday, moments after his Methacton squad wrapped up a 31-23 victory over Spring-Ford.

“That was the story today,” he said. “It wasn’t the guys you usually see score points. Some of them didn’t have their ‘A’ games today.”

Methacton got that effort from one end of the card to the other. In a match marked by close bout scores — several of them going overtime to be decided — the Warriors were more than a match for their guests in this Pioneer Athletic Conference (Liberty Division) pairing. They hung with the Rams through the first nine weights, then went on a solid stretch run over the final five to deal their guests their first loss of the season.

“I think our guys worked it out a bit,” Maida said. “But we still have a way to go.”

Methacton’s Joe Donahue (Jeff Stover – Digital First Media)

Methacton saw its own strong start to the 2016-17 campaign — an 8-0 dual match record, first-place team finishes in three December tournaments — dented Wednesday with a 37-25 loss to Boyertown. In their latest test against a power both in their division and the PAC, the Warriors (1-1 PAC, 9-1 overall) hung tough against Spring-Ford’s top grapplers.

That was even the case in bouts they didn’t win. One notable instance was at 285, where Methacton’s Joe Donahue extended Spring-Ford star Matt Lepore all the way through overtime before the Ram heavyweight (15-6) came away with a 4-3 ultimate-tiebreaker win.

“The reason is, there were other guys who never left off.” Maida said. “Joe Donahue was one of those guys.”

In two lightweight bouts, Methacton’s Liam Donovan (113) and Jorge Carmona (120) were dominated by Shane Reynolds and Brandon Meredith, respectively. But in those tussles, the Warrior wrestlers prevented their Ram counterparts from coming away with more than major decisions: Reynolds a 19-6 verdict, Meredith (20-1) a 19-7 outcome.

“They’re why we were winning big in duals,” Maida said. “They and other guys have bought in to what we’re doing, and we see them giving the effort.”

Spring-Ford (1-1, 12-1) saw its last lead of the day the 17-16 margin it held following Jonathan Westlake’s pin at 145. The Rams were able to cut Methacton’s lead to 28-23 with another pin from Chase Smith at 182, setting up the 195-pound finale between Louis Carbajal and the Warriors’ Salaam McNair.

Carbajal was able to cut McNair’s initial 5-2 lead to one point (6-5) after two periods. But in the critical third period, McNair reversed off a bottom start and took Carbajal down off an escape, then spotted the SF freshman another escape before posting a 10-7 victory.

“Salaam came in at 164 pounds. He wrestled a kid who was 195,” Maida noted. “You don’t hear much about him, but that’s what the team is made of.”

“On paper, we knew there were going to be a lot of close matches,” SF head coach Tim Seislove said. “The overtimes, one- and two-point decisions … to beat a team like Methacton, you have to win them.”

Drew Balek went overtime to win at 132 against the Rams’ Jake Pagovich. Off a 1-1 deadlock in regulation time, Balek scored a 4-1 tiebreaker that gave the Warriors a 12-11 lead following a 6-1 decision at 126 by Kibwe McNair (18-2).

Dylan Henry (20-1) capped the home team’s middle-of-the-card run with a 15-3 major at 138. Following Westlake’s pin, Roman Moser put the Warriors on top for keeps with a 5-1 decision at 152 — one that saw Moser (17-4) bolster an early 2-1 advantage with an escape and takedown in the third period.

“We were really confident,” Donahue said. “We’ve been working all season. We came in knowing we had to put everything out.”

Methacton’s late run continued with Bryce Reddington (20-0) scoring a 35-second pin at 160 that was the team’s lone fall. Brendan Marion (18-4) then padded the Warriors’ lead to 28-17 with an 8-4 decision at 170, one that featured the senior scoring two reversals and two back points to expand his early 2-1 lead.

“It was nice to see all our young guys get points when they could,” Donahue said. “It’s nice to see everybody work hard.”

Both teams will now look to Sunday’s seeding meeting for the District 1 Duals Tournament, which commences Thursday with opening-round matches at Methacton and West Chester Rustin. They will also continue divisional competition Wednesday: The Warriors at home against Norristown, the Rams hosting Perkiomen Valley.

“It’s disappointing,” Seislove said of the loss. “They (Methacton) got the bonus points and close wins when they needed to. They have a great group of kids who’ve been together a long time.

“They’re excited.”

NOTES >> Methacton’s start featured Tonee Ellis’ 8-2 decision in the 220-pound opener, and Corey Morabito (18-2) with an 11-7 verdict at 106. … Smith’s 17-second fall was the day’s fastest. … The district seeding meeting will take place at Spring-Ford.

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