By Nick Hampton
The Muskogee High wrestling program unveiled a new head coach in the dual season opener on Tuesday night. But in the end, the results on the mat were much the same as they have been the past several years.
Coach John Petty notched his first victory as the Muskogee wrestling coach as his sixth-ranked Roughers obliterated Bartlesville 70-9 in a District 6A-8 dual meet at Ron Milam Gymnasium.
Although glad to get the home opener behind him in a winning manner, Petty was quick to give the credit to his grapplers.
“This was all about these guys. I think they did a great job and the hard work they’ve been doing showed up tonight,” said Petty. “The fans got a chance to see what we look like and, yeah it feels good to get that first victory.”
Muskogee got pins in nine of the 12 contested matches on the night. And even in the two matches the Roughers lost, Petty was pleased with the effort of his wrestlers, James Buckhanan and Darius Lewis.
Buckhanan, wrestling up a weight at 182, got behind 5-0 early in his match, but battled back to tie it 9-9 with fifteen seconds left in the match. In the one minute sudden death overtime, the Bruins’ Grant Schultz scored a takedown in the first 15 seconds to record the win.
“I thought he (Buckhanan) did a great job to come from behind and send the match to overtime,” said Petty.
The only other blemish for the Roughers came at 160 pounds as freshman Darius Lewis was pinned late in the first period by defending state champion Michael Hamilton.
“We send our youngest kid out against their oldest kid, the defending state champ, and Darius went out there and fought hard,” said Petty.
Muskogee got pins on the night from Xavion and Xavier Taylor, Cori Andrews, Adonis Cole, state qualifier Elijah Pettey, Gustavo Huerta, last year’s third place state finisher Dwaylon Barnes and state runner-up Jacobe Smith, and state qualifier Chase Soper.
Just three weeks removed as the Roughers football kicker, Soper says he’s still working to get in shape and likes what’s he’s seen so far from the new head coach.
“In football as a kicker I wasn’t on the field a lot, so I’m really not in shape for the demands of wrestling. But tonight I had a lot of energy and felt good,” said Soper. “As far as the change of coaching styles, it’s a little different, but Coach Petty really knows what he’s doing.”
In the other matches of the night Rougher state qualifier Matt Acee scored an 11-3 major decision over Joe Jones and Muskogee received forfeits at 106 and 113 pounds.
The victory sets up an early season showdown for the Roughers as they travel to test second-ranked Broken Arrow Thursday night, weather permitting.