Bisons ride falls to win over Panthers

CRESSON – Only one of the 11 contested bouts in Tuesday night’s dual meet between Bedford and Penn Cambria went the distance.

Surprisingly, the Panthers and Bisons, ranked second in the Mirror rankings, had five pins each, and PC won the non-pin bout by major decision.

Three forfeits made the difference as Bedford, now 6-1, beat the short-handed Panthers, 48-34, on PC’s senior night.

“With the way the matchups the way that they were, it seemed like it was power against non-power the whole way up through,” Bedford coach Brian Creps said, “so there was a whole bunch of falls.

“You don’t like getting pinned, and some of our kids have to learn to stay off their backs if you’re going to win big matches, but tonight we were able to overcome that because we were able to put a lot of other kids on their back and pin them. And the kids that they forfeited to are pretty solid.”

“I can never complain about this group that I have,” PC coach Todd Niebauer said. “Honestly, this is one of the more enjoyable years that I’ve had coaching because the numbers are low and the expectations I guess from other areas aren’t as high. These kids give me everything they’ve got.”

You have to wonder how good Penn Cambria (8-8) would be if it had a few more wrestlers. Even Niebauer admits he wonders about that, but he doesn’t focus on it.

“I always say you can’t worry about what you don’t have. You just take care about what you have,” he said. “I tell the kids if we can come out of a match and say we battled and try to win the head-to-head matchups…I can’t go in and scream at those kids because it is what it is. I can’t make an 8-foot two-by-four into a 10-foot two-by-four.”

The Panthers chugged out to a 24-6 lead in the first five weights, getting second-period falls from Dominic Farabaugh (160), Jake Driskel (170) and seniors Matt Wyland (195) and John Wilkinson (220). Bedford’s Chance Williams (182) picked up a forfeit win that stretch.

“Driskel and Wyland have been moving up all year for us to fill the weight classes,” Niebauer said. “They’re team players, and they never question me.”

Wilkinson (13-3) took Matt Kline down three times before putting him on his back and pinning him in 3:04.

“He’s very athletic for his build,” Niebauer said. “I love his double-leg takedowns, and he’s very aggressive on his feet. He’ll be a guy we’ll miss.”

Bedford 285-pounder Nate Shoemaker stopped the Panthers’ run with a pin, and PC 106-pounder Nolan Link (17-4) followed with a pin of Noah Baughman in 3:23.

Bedford got forfeit wins from Johnathan Gabriel (113) and Kyle Mehle (120), and Jake Warren took Zach Stevens down to his back and pinned him in 1:14, tying the score at 30.

“I think the key match was Warren versus Stevens,” Creps said. “That was a match I thought our experience would bring us through, but Stevens has been wrestling pretty well, so you were not quite sure how that was going to work out. Once we won that match, it was pretty much over.”

Ryan Easter (13-2), ranked second by Off The Mat, gave the Bisons the lead with a pin in 1:10, and Garrett Thomas (11-3), who recently earned his 100th win, extended the lead with a 27-second pin.

Toby Brett, who came into the meet with a 4-5 record, built a 6-2 lead on Mike Eckenrode at 145, and in the third, he reversed Eckenrode to his back, pinned him in 5:42 and sealed the dual meet win.

“That losing record is kind of deceiving because a lot of people don’t understand how good he is,” Creps said. “He’s had a lot of bad luck, but we’re hoping to get some momentum going into the Thomas Tournament.”

The meet ended with the only bout that went the distance, an 11-0 Austin Farabaugh major decision over Devon Karns.

“Every time we come to this gym, we tend not to wrestle well,” Creps said, “so it was nice to get it out of the way, get a win and move on.”

160-D. Farabaugh, PC, pinned Wertz, 2:47; 170-Driskel, PC, pinned D. Brett, 3:16; 182-Williams, B, won by forfeit; 195-Wyland, PC, pinned Crawley, 3:11; 220-Jo. Wilkinson, PC, pinned Kline, 3:04; 285-Shoemaker, B, pinned Wineland, :39; 106–Link, PC, pinned Baughman, 3:23.

113-Gabriel, B, won by forfeit; 120-Mehle, B, won by forfeit; 126-Warren, B, pinned Stevens, 1:14; 132-Easter, B, pinned Ja. Wilkinson, 1:10; 138-Thomas, B, pinned Myers, :27; 145-T. Brett, B, pinned Eckenrode, 5:42; 152-A. Farabaugh, PC, maj. dec. Karns, 11-0.

Records: Bedford (6-1); Penn Cambria (8-8).