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Comets upend Eagles

CENTRAL POINT — Under the spotlight of television coverage, the Crater Comets capped their regular season in fitting fashion with a 36-18 wrestling triumph over rival Eagle Point on Thursday night at Crater High.

After agreeing to allow the dual meet to be televised on tape-delay, the Comets and Eagles went out and provided onlookers plenty of action as a primer for next week's Southern Sky Conference district tournament.

"I was real pleased on both sides of the mat," said Crater coach Greg Haga. "For Eagle Point and us both, there was only one fall the whole night and a lot better wrestling (than their prior matchup). Anytime you can hold Eagle Point to 18 points or under in a dual, you've done a pretty good job. I was real proud of the guys."

The Comets cruised past the Eagles, 51-24, when the two teams met previously on Dec. 12, with Crater using three forfeits and five falls to pull away.

On Thursday the technical side of the equation was on full display as the Comets earned two technical fall victories and won six other matches by decision.

"I was proud of our kids from (112 pounds to 130)," said Haga. "All of them wrestled up a weight tonight and did pretty well. Eagle Point did the same with a couple of their guys, too."

Heavyweight Brandon Hesse got the ball rolling for Crater with a major decision over Jesse Watkins and, after a forfeit victory at 103 pounds by Mike Macuk, Skyler Prislac and Jeremy Artoff followed with dominating efforts at 112 and 119, respectively. Prislac, a freshman, scored a 16-8 major decision over Ben Zomerdyk and Artoff, a junior, was similarly effective in a 10-3 win over Trent Kaiser.

Kevin Leonardo finally got the Eagles on the board with a 12-5 decision over Brent Espinosa at 125, but Nick Ferris answered with a 17-6 major decision over Gage Baumer.

Blake Platt (135) followed with the only pin of the night and Matt Wilson eked out a 2-1 decision over Tyler Winner at 140 to give Eagle Point some momentum, but Brock Gutches quickly took that away with an overpowering performance against Brady Holland at 145. Gutches scored a 24-9 technical fall over the EP standout.

"Brock handled that one pretty technically and beat him soundly," said Haga. "Brock's pretty consistent. He just goes out and wrestles hard every time."

Tripp Thompson avenged a loss to Tony Pinedo at 152, erasing the images of a loss by pin in their earlier meeting with a 13-10 victory. In his first dual-meet action for the Comets, Churchill transfer Zack Kearney followed with a 6-4 decision to help pad the lead for Crater.

Robby Mannenbach (171) and Johnathan Platt (215) sandwiched decisions for Eagle Point around a technical fall victory for Crater's Darrio Mobley to round out the night's action. Mobley scored a 21-6 win over Steve Josephson.

"I think Darrio did a great job," said Haga. "He's one that really likes it when the spotlight's on. Some kids looked at the TV (coverage) as pressure, but I think he thrives on things like that a little bit more."

Thursday's match will be telecast at 6 tonight on Charter Channel 16 in Jackson and Josephine counties and on Channel 98 on Ashland TV. It will replay at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday on those respective channels.

"We need things like this to happen," said Haga of the prospects of being on TV, "and maybe we should try to get a little bit more duals at home on our schedule. All of that can only help."

TEAM SCORE — Crater 36, Eagle Point 18.

103 — Mike Macuk, C, won by forfeit; 112 — Skyler Prislac, C, major dec. Ben Zomerdyk, 16-8; 119 — Jeremy Artoff, C, dec. Trent Kaiser, 10-3; 125 — Kevin Leonardo, EP, dec. Brent Espinosa, 12-5; 130 — Nick Ferris, C, major dec. Gage Baumer, 17-6.

135 — Blake Platt, EP, pinned Zach King, 1:56; 140 — Matt Wilson, EP, dec. Tyler Winner, 2-1; 145 — Brock Gutches, C, tech. fall Brady Holland, 24-9; 152 — Tripp Thompson, C, dec. Tony Pinedo, 13-10.

160 — Zack Kearney, C, dec. Scott Leonardo, 6-4; 171 — Robby Mannenbach, EP, dec. Zach Young, 9-4; 189 — Darrio Mobley, C, tech. fall Steve Josephson, 21-6; 215 — Johnathan Platt, EP, dec. Logan Brooks, 6-1; *285 — Brandon Hesse, C, major dec. Jesse Watkins, 10-2.

* starting weight

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail khenry@mailtribune.com

Crater High wrestler Darrio Mobley throws Eagle Point’s Steven Josephson in the 189-pound weight class in a Southern Sky Conference dual at Crater High on Thursday. Mail Tribune Photo / Jamie Lusch - Jamie Lusch