Before last night's duel meet with Broadneck, Annapolis wrestling coach Dave Gehrdes said, "I'm hoping it comes down to heavyweight because I know ours is better than theirs."
It didn't. The 2-0 Bruins, ranked 10th in the state, swept the first six bouts for a 23-0 lead and won three of the last four for a 38-23 win.
The match bore little resemblance to last year's 31-26 Panthers victory, when Brandon Tinker (189) and Clif McClain tied, 3-3, giving Annapolis a 28-26 lead to set up heavyweight DeMond Galloway's dramatic 2-0 win to clinch the match for the Panthers.
That Annapolis victory forced a three-way tie for last year's county title, since Annapolis lost its only match, 41-21, to three-time Class 4A/3A state champion Old Mill, and the Patriots had lost earlier to Broadneck, 31-28.
But without Tinker, who has missed a few days of school due to illness, and injured starter Ira Robbins (119, thumb and shoulder injuries), and with Kevin Owen failing to make the 103-pound limit, Gehrdes' hopes went unfulfilled.
Tinker's 189-pound replacement, David Castle, was pinned in the first period by McClain, rendering Galloway's first-period pin insignificant. The Bruins' Dave Macauley won his 171-pound bout, 7-6, over the Panthers' Kevin Berk.
"Not having some of our wrestlers put us in a hole," said Gehrdes, whose Panthers are ranked fifth in The Sun's poll behind the No. 4 Bruins.
Broadneck led, 6-0, after the 103-pound forfeit, and 11-0 after Broadneck's third-ranked state champion Charlie Bennett (112) scored a 15-0 technical fall over Annapolis' Ariel Povich.
Coach John Mayberry strengthened his Bruins' lineup by moving county and regional champion Shawn Miller up from 119 to 125, and 125-pound Josh Marder dropped to 119. He gambled that Miller, last year's 112-pound state runner-up, could beat veteran Seth Robbins (125), who was third in the county, and that Marder could beat Mike Zambarnardi (119), a 103-pound wrestler last year who was competing in his first match this season.
The movepaid off for a 21-0 lead, as Marder scored a 13-3 major decision andtop-ranked Miller picked up his fourth pin of the season in the third period.
It was 20-0 after an official deducted a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct when Broadneck assistant coach David Poe questioned a call. But Vin Gerrior's 9-2 decision over Nick Samaras made it 23-0.
"Those guys made me look like a genius. Things fell exactly into place the way we wanted them to," said Mayberry. "It must have been demoralizing for Annapolis when Owen didn't make weight, but Ithink that the way we were wrestling, even if Owen had made weight, we would have beat them anyway."
Miller, who improved his record to 6-0, said, "We had planned to make that move all season. We've beenthinking about this match for a long time."
The early lead gave the Bruins momentum going into the middle weight bouts, where last year's match turned in Annapolis' favor. Last year, the Bruins' unbeatenNo. 3 Duke Koblinsky suffered an ankle injury and had to default his135-pound bout to Ford Baumgardner.
It appeared history would repeat itself when the Panthers swept the next three bouts to come to 23-14.
Annapolis' county and regional runner-up, Tom Sfakiyanudas (135), came up with a 7-4 decision over Mike Hollindach, Baumgardner (140) scored a technical fall and Jack Copus (145) overcame a 7-0 lead with his third-period pin.
The Panthers' No. 2 state runner-up, Chip Cochran (152), wanted a pin, but could get only a 3-1 decision over Chris McTam
many to make it 23-17.
"I don't know, lately we've not been as high as we were last year," said Cochran, who last yearmoved up from 140 to 171 and scored a second-period pin. "I think everyone, including myself, needed this. I think we lacked motivation and needed a slap in the face."
Broadneck's fourth-ranked Seth Lopatkiewicz (160) gained a measure of revenge with his third-period pin of Dan Flynn, whose brother, state champ Pat Flynn, blanked him a year ago.
Pat was sitting in the stands as the score moved to 29-17 for the Bruins.
"That provided a lot of motivation," said Lopatkiewicz, who is 6-0. "It felt good to win that one."