After slow start, Hammond rallies to top Centennial, 40-21

February 02, 1994|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to the Sun

Hammond struggled at the start of its match with Centennial yesterday. Once the Golden Bears got rolling, however, the match became a struggle for Centennial.

Co-No. 5 Hammond lost three of the first four matches, but the Golden Bears rallied to win seven of the last nine to score a 40-21 victory over the visiting Eagles in a matchup of unbeaten teams in Howard County.

The Bears' (9-0, 3-0) struggle to get rolling dismayed their coach.

"We should have stepped up a little [more]," said Hammond coach Bill Smith. "I just know that a couple of our [wrestlers] had their kids on their back and didn't put them away."

Smith said the Golden Bears, who have won most of their matches with little trouble, did not take Centennial lightly.

"We wrestled terribly, but we still stopped them," said Chris Williams of Hammond.

Centennial (6-4, 3-1) jumped to a 9-0 lead when Lance Rhodes (103 pounds, 16-5) edged Amit Kapoor, 5-4, and David Roogow (112, 8-7) pinned Jerry Carr at 2:38.

Mike Chang (119, 20-2) got the Golden Bears on the board with a 14-2 rout of Clark Edmunds, but Jason Nagle (125, 17-6) answered for the Eagles with a 7-1 decision over Ryan Armstrong to stretch the lead to 12-4.

Hammond then began turning the match around. John Motley (130, 18-5), Bryce Armstrong (135, 10-8), Brian Law (140, 17-4) and Danny Proulx (145, 9-1) won to give Hammond a 22-12 lead. Motley scored a technical fall, Armstrong and Law earned decisions and Proulx got a forfeit.

Robert Rix (152, 9-8) let Centennial slice the lead to 22-18 with a pin of Hansel Henry at 1:47. Then, up stepped Williams.

Williams (160), the sixth-ranked wrestler in the state, took charge immediately against Richard Anaker. He scored a quick takedown and then a pin at 1:00 to give the Golden Bears a 10-point lead.

Anthony DiPietro (171) kept Centennial alive with a 14-9 victory over Billy Midkiff, but Jimmy Weston (189) clinched the victory for Hammond with a pin of Joon Kim at 3:34. Heavyweight Pedro Barbosa closed the match for Hammond with a pin of Aaron Perkins at 40 seconds.

Centennial coach Todd DeCrispino liked how his team started the match, but did not like what happened when the momentum shifted.

"The early matches were going in our favor," he said. "Then, all of a sudden, the [momentum] turned."

Both coaches agreed that the Williams victory was important. The Golden Bears led by only four at that point, but his pin gave the team some breathing room.

Williams said he felt some pressure at the start of the match. "I figured it was kind of up to me," said Williams. "You've got to go hard from the start."

Even if it was not pretty, Smith liked the fact that his team came up with a victory.

"Good teams, when they have bad days, still manage to win," said Smith. "We didn't wrestle well, but still managed to win."

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