Last week, the Oakland Mills Scorpions were searching for their own pulse. Having just suffered a lopsided defeat at the hands of Hammond, the Scorpions were looking for their first wrestling victory and staring at their first losing season in nearly 20 years.
The Scorpions have an announcement to make. They're not dead yet. In fact, after last night's 33-23 victory at Wilde Lake, the Scorpions (2-6) completed a rejuvenating week that included a 45-18 rout of upstart Howard.
Suddenly, the future looks brighter for Oakland Mills. The Scorpions have put themselves in excellent position to avoid a losing season, and they are gaining the confidence they will need to contend at next month's county tournament.
"We were really in a corner," said Oakland Mills coach Steve Carnahan, whose team figures to handle Atholton, Centennial, Mount Hebron and Glenelg -- their remaining county opponents -- and forge a 6-6 finish.
"This team has had to deal with an enormous amount of adversity, and the kids have really come together," Carnahan said. "The momentum started at the Arundel Tournament last weekend, where we placed three champions [Adam Seidman, Geoff Henderson and Justin Wethington]. It's a matter of pride. We've been champions in the past, and we've turned it up a notch."
The Scorpions turned it up early and often on Wilde Lake (7-2). With an outstanding contribution from their lightweights and middleweights, Oakland Mills surprised the Wildecats by taking a 30-10 lead after nine matches.
The turning point came midway through the match. With the Scorpions leading 12-10, Paul Crickard (135) rallied from a 5-4 deficit against Tyrone Hayward with an escape that tied the bout at 5-5 with seven seconds left and sent it into overtime. Crickard thenscored a takedown 35 seconds into the extra period to take a 7-5 victory and start the Scorpions' decisive run.
Adam Seidman followed Crickard by decisioning Tony Crawford, in the 140-pound bout. Tony Parker (145) gave the Scorpions a huge lift by pinning Sylvester Briggs-Hall with 19 seconds left in the third period.
Geoff Henderson (152) pinned Rich Jackson early in the third period to extend the Oakland Mills lead to 30-10.
Wilde Lake, needing to sweep the rest of the match and produce at least three pins to catch the Scorpions, won the next three matches to make the score respectable. Robert McGrain (160) edged Damion Smith, 4-3, Mike Green (171) won by forfeit, and 189-pounder Nate Casella beat Ryan McNeil, 9-0, to close the gap to 30-23.
The Scorpions got off to a strong start. Juri Freeman (103) and Wade Mitchell (112) gave them a quick 12-0 lead with pins. Wilde Lake trimmed the lead to 12-10 over the next three bouts.