The turning point -- if there can be one in a 44-14 wrestling match -- came at 125 pounds yesterday at Hammond.
That's where Hammond's Scott Osborn decisioned Oakland Mills' Kevin Sutton, 6-4, giving the second-ranked Bears a 20-0 lead that carried them to undisputed possession of first place in the county with a 6-0 league mark and a 10-1 overall record.
The Scorpions, unbeaten in the league until yesterday's loss, made a brief run, winning 8-4 behind Chris Naylor at 130 pounds, and 22-6 on a technical fall by John Nguyen at 135 pounds to pull within 12 points.
By then it was too late. Osborn's victory had put Oakland Mills in a deep hole, and the Scorpions lost the next three matches to Josh Zillmer (23-0), Adam Clark (19-7) and Tim McGrail (20-6) by pins to fall behind, 38-8.
"I was pumped up to wrestle Naylor, but when I saw Sutton I realized I could still set the pace for my team," said Osborn. "He [Sutton] had a lot of confidence, even though I had beaten him twice last season."
Sutton, an emotional leader with just three previous losses and 17 victories, bumped up a weight class to face a physically superior Osborn, dodging a match at 119 pounds against Jared Zillmer, whose record was 21-1.
Sutton wrestled tough, trailing 2-1 after one period, and 6-3 after two periods before losing by two points. "I was impressed with him," Osborn said. "He's improved a lot since last year."
Oakland Mills coach Brian Chadwick said: "Osborn was very tough. We were emotionally up coming into today's match, but )) knew everything had to happen exactly right. We had to wrestle beyond our normal potential for us to win. And we needed an upset or a pin, and they didn't allow any of that. That's something to admire them for."
The Scorpions (8-4, 6-1) had hoped for points from Tim Wong at 145 pounds and Quentin Milroe at 160 pounds, but neither delivered, as Clark pinned Wong and Randy Curtin decisioned Milroe.
"The rumor mill had it that Oakland Mills thought it could come in here and beat us, and I didn't want us to get caught up in the hype," Hammond coach Jeff Starnes said. "And we didn't. We wrestled well."
Pub Date: 1/29/97