By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
Going into Friday’s dual, Muskogee was an underdog in four of the bouts against Ponca City.
Four Roughers were ranked lower than their opponents at 120 pounds, 170, 220 and heavyweight (or 285). That didn’t faze them.
Muskogee won all of those bouts en route to the 43-18 victory against the Wildcats at Ron D. Milam Memorial Gym.
“Those were big matches,” MHS coach Bobby Jefferson said. “We had our backs against the wall because their guys had finished ahead of us at the Perry Tournament (earlier this month).”
Chase Soper started off Muskogee’s winning with a 7-5 decision against Caleb Burns, No. 4 in the Okwrestle.com rankings, at 120.
Two bouts later, the Roughers got on a roll, winning eight of the next nine that included four straight victories by pin.
The pins were by Matt Acee at 138, Dawaylon Barnes at 145, Jacobe Smith at 152 and James Buckhanan at 160. Muskogee went from a 9-3 deficit to a 30-9 lead after the pins.
Meanwhile, No. 4 J.T. Andrews beat No. 3 Brannon Hunt at 170, No. 9 Nigel Harris defeated No. 4 Jakoda Bridges 3-1 at 220 and No. 10 Elijah Pettey beat No. 4 William Leclair 4-3 at 285.
“Momentum has a lot to do with wrestling,” Jefferson said. “It really does. It helped to win all of those matches. I was really pleased with our effort in all of the matches.”
Andrews’ win was especially meaningful for him as he avenged his only loss this season to Hunt. Andrews got a takedown and a near fall to take a 10-7 lead in the third and final period. Hunt executed a reversal to cut the Andrews’ lead to 10-9 and the Rougher escaped for the 11-9 win.
“I was looking for revenge,” he said. “He had beaten me by one point (6-5). It feels good to get that win back under my belt.”
Harris’ takedown in the final period of his match was the difference.
“I’m sure the Ponca City coaches were banking on him pinning me,” he said. “I’d been training for two weeks for this match because we haven’t had any other competition. I think I was mentally prepared better for this match. I tried to stay in good position.”
Pettey got an escape with 1:15 left in the match to pull out his victory.
“I was upset that I was an underdog going in,” he said. “I just wrestled my match and was able to come out on top.”
Of the four pins, Buckhanan got his the fastest at 34.4 seconds left in the first period against Trenton Newlin at 160 pounds.
“I saw other guys were getting pins and I didn’t want to be left out,” Buckhanan said. “I’ve been inspired by Dawaylon (Barnes) and Jacobe (Smith). They’re at the next level and that’s where I’m trying to be.”
Barnes got his pin with 33 seconds left in the first period, while Barnes and Acee recorded their pins in the second period.
Muskogee returns to the mat on Jan. 4-5 at the Jerks Tournament.