The defending Southern Henlopen Champion Smyrna Eagles (5-0) held off the Indian River Indians (5-2) 47-17 on Jan. 10 in what may have been a preview for the 2007 Division II dual meet tournament next month.
The Smyrna Eagles jumped out to a 19-4 advantage through the first five matches after Dominique Morris (160 pounds) earned a 12-4 decision over Brian Darrell.
Indian River rallied to win its next two matches following a 9-2 pin by Perry Townsend (215 pounds) over Justin Collison and Zach Rector held on to earn a 5-3 decision over Barry Reece to cut the Eagles lead to a pin at 19-13. But from there Smyrna proved to be the stronger team.
They earned two straight decisions at 103 and 112 pounds before Mike Magaha (119 pounds) could pull the Indians back within striking distance at 27-17 favoring Smyrna, with a 9-1 decision over Jared Dulin. But they would never close the distance.
Darjuan Pitts (125 pounds) battled Kenny Boyle but trailed 4-2 heading into the second period, when Boyle turned up the heat and scored six more points before earning the pin with 17 seconds left in the period.
David Harkness (130 pounds) gave up a 7-0 pin to Cody Carbine with 1:37 left in the second period.
Sean Cummings (135 pounds) battled Alex Roberts for top position throughout and gave up four unanswered points after scoring first to head into the second period 4-2. But Roberts wouldn’t relinquish his lead. Cummings eventually lost the match in a 10-6 decision.
And the match concluded when Chris Damatti earned a 6-1 pin over Luke Saylor (140 pounds) with 35 seconds left in the first period.
“We look at IR (Indian River) as the best team in the South,” Smyrna head coach Kurt Howell said. “We looked at the Laurel match and took it for what it was worth. We knew the kind of kids they have and we knew that this was the match for the South. It was obviously a struggle and their kids battled all the way through.”
“I don’t know, but when our boys come down here they seem to wrestle their best,” Howell said. “Maybe it’s something in the water. I don’t know.”
Sandwiched between the Smyrna and Laurel loss from Jan. 3, Indian River racked up victories over Delmar and Milford, and by all indications will have to continue without two state qualifiers from last year’s team.
Danny Bokinsky (160 pounds) and P.J. Barch (140-145 pounds) join Phillip Townsend as the second and third state qualifiers from last year’s team to go down with possible season-ending injuries, according to Indians head coach Jeff Windish.
And with nine remaining dual matches left this season, Windish indicated that each one from here on out is significant.
“The odds are stacked against us and, yes, there is still a chance that we can make the dual tournament,” Windish said. “We control our own destiny. We’re going to have to wrestle every match like it’s a championship match.”
“Any Division II match we have, we have to win,” he added.
Windish mentioned that the Smyrna match could’ve gone in their favor but the referee didn’t rule a couple scores Indian River’s way.
“There were a couple of matches that could’ve changed the outlook of the match. Not that I like to make excuses, but No. 1, I didn’t agree with a set of back points Sean Cummings received in the first period. From there, he had to wrestle from behind and he had to wrestle a different match, which made it hard for him to win. I think if we had a chance to wrestle that match again – I think Sean wins,” Windish said.
“And No. 2, Delphino (Pascual) had another winnable match,” he continued. “That’s an eight-point swing in our favor if we get those two matches.”
Indian River will wrestle at the South River Invitational Jan. 12-13 for their fourth and final tournament of the season before heading into post-season tournament action. They will then return for dual matches against Polytech, Cape Henlopen and Caravel.