Bulldogs prevail over Trojans, 36-31

Win last five bouts to take the dual
By: Matt Long
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Folsom High wrestling coach Mike Collier felt Oak Ridge had the advantage coming into Wednesday’s Delta River League opening dual wrestling meet. His counterpart from Oak Ridge, Casey Rhyan, felt Folsom had the edge. As it turned out, the match turned out to be the most exciting dual match for both squads in awhile, as the Bulldogs pulled out a 36-31 win, taking the last five bouts with Sam Morgan earning a come-from-behind 7-4 win over Brandon Buriani at 130 pounds to secure the victory for the Bulldogs. Had Buriani won the bout, Oak Ridge would have won the match by a point, 34-33. “I had a feeling it was going to come down to the wire and I’m happy that we were able to win,” Collier said. “That’s what high school dual matches are all about.” The win kept Folsom’s Delta River League win streak alive at 21 straight matches. Oak Ridge had worked up a 31-14 lead after heavyweight Xavier Lopez, really a 215-pounder, pinned Folsom’s Parker Oreno in 35 seconds. The Bulldogs, however, won the last five matches with big wins coming from a pair of freshmen at 103 and 112, a hard-fought win by Tyler Rios at 119, an impressive15-5 win by Connor Pollock at 125 and Morgan’s clincher. With the bout tied at two after two periods, Buriani started the third period down and earned a reversal when Morgan got too high to take a 4-2 lead. With Oak Ridge fans chanting ‘Brandon’ and Folsom fans countering with ‘let’s go Sam,’ the entire crowd was heavily into the bout as the seconds ticked away. In the final 40 seconds, Morgan, starting on the bottom after the wrestlers worked themselves out of bounds, used a Granby-to-Peterson combo to reverse control and earn three back points and held on for the 7-4 win. “I was tired but I was confident I had enough energy to beat him,” Morgan said after the match. “He came at me very strong at first and played the edge of the mat and I was definitely frustrated, but I kept at it. “This is the biggest win of the season for me. He’s ranked ahead of me in the section and it’s just a big win for the team as we’ve been undefeated in league for the last four years.” Folsom’s Tyler Hoffman started the rally for the Bulldogs by pinning Trevor Cazares in the second period. Fellow freshman Logan Cunningham, unbelievably in his first match of his high school career after only three weeks of practice, pinned Oak Ridge’s Paul Divinagracia in 1:29. “I literally got off the bus and went back in the school and got him to come with us tonight,” Collier said. “He was late getting his physical and getting cleared and I wasn’t even sure if he was going to be with us, but he made it and has only been in the room for about two or three weeks. He’s essentially our third-string 112-pounder but with Tyler Rios up at 119 and another guy ineligible, we needed Logan tonight and he came through. Hopefully this gives him a confidence boost.” Rios followed with a 7-4 win over Xavier Liongson before Pollock earned an impressive 15-5 major decision over a tough Trey Reese, which gave the Bulldogs their first lead since 5-3 early in the match, 33-31. Oak Ridge picked up its wins early in the match, as Taylor Ellerman defeated Nick Fiegener 8-4 at 140 pounds; Keaton Subjeck won by forfeit at 145 and Alex Diaz defeating Ryan Jensen 10-2 at 152. Following a solid 10-7 win by Folsom’s Isaias Diaz over Hugh Ellerman at 160, Oak Ridge’s Zach Claiborne pinned Folsom’s Alex Hurlimann and Vinny Waldhauser followed with a first-period pin of Alex Wood. Folsom’s Tevenn Lewis made quick work of Oak Ridge’s Eric Rohrer at 215 pounds, pinning him in nine seconds, before Lopez’ pin of Oreno put the Trojans up by 17 with five matches to go before the Bulldogs won out to take the match. Despite the loss, Rhyan seemed thrilled just to be involved in such an exciting match. “I think that’s the toughest dual match I ever coached,” Rhyan said. “I’m really proud of the kids. I always tell them that wrestling isn’t about winning or losing but it’s about how they wrestle and how they put their heart into it. This match was a heartbreaker, but that happens. This loss is going to show us what we’re made of over the next few weeks.”