Scorpions surprise Howard

December 17, 1993|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

Never count out Oakland Mills.

The visiting Scorpions sent that loud-and-clear message to the entire county by upsetting 15th-ranked Howard, 38-33, in the league opener yesterday.

Oakland Mills had finished fifth -- 60 points behind first-place Howard -- in the Chopticon Tournament last weekend and was looking like only the third-best county team.

But the Scorpions, helped by Howard's 130-pounder, who missed Wrestling

weigh-in, put it all together to capture a victory crucial to their dual-meet championship hopes.

Oakland Mills (1-2) dominated the lower weight classes, building a 29-0 lead.

Jason Berlin (103 pounds) won by forfeit, Juri Freeman (112) scored a technical fall, Choung Nguyen (119) won by a fall and Wade Mitchell (125) won by forfeit. Mitchell was the Scorpions only champion at the Chopticon Tourney where Howard had three champions.

Mitchell's would-be opponent, Travis Stubblefield, was bumped up to 130 pounds because Howard's regular 130-pounder, Brian Elphage, missed the weigh-in.

Stubblefield then was pinned by Matt Sutton at 130 pounds, an especially painful setback for the Lions.

"He [Elphage] might not have won at 130 pounds, but he wouldn't have gotten pinned," Howard coach Fred Bullock said. "We knew we had to stay off our backs down low."

Chris Poling (140), a runner-up at Chopticon, got the Lions back on track by pinning Casey Moffett in 3:12. Poling had fallen behind 10-1 after the first period.

Prestin Murfin (140) continued the Howard rally with a major decision over Paul Crickard, 15-7. Murfin (18-6 last season) nearly pinned Crickard before the final buzzer.

Eric Paskin (145) beat Tom Harbaugh with a technical fall at 5:50, to cut Oakland Mills' lead to 29-15.

"We knew we could still come back and win when we were down 29-0," Bullock said.

But the 152-pound match proved crucial to Howard's defeat. Josh Crickard pinned Jack McPherson in 5:30, even though Crickard was losing 7-2 at the time. McPherson had pinned Crickard in a match last season.

"That match showed a lot of heart by Crickard and was the one that gave it [victory] to us," Scorpion Matt Sutton said.

The 160-pound match also proved important, as Oakland Mills' Sam Phillips decisioned Brandon Maccherone, 12-7.

"Maccherone had pinned Phillips once before," Bullock said. "Those two matches [152 and 160] decided it."

Howard (2-1) then pinned out the rest of the way with Seth Eldridge (171), Frank Tortella (189) and Tyson Daves (heavyweight). Daves got the match's fastest pin in 22 seconds.

"We knew we'd get a lead and have to hang tough," Scorpions coach Steve Carnahan said. "We knew it would go to the wire. We lost some big guns from last season's team and weren't sure how we'd hold up, but this win should give us confidence."

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