River Hill rushes past Hammond at finish

Cannon, Fawcett rescue Hawks in showdown, 28-27


High schools

January 19, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Furiously, River Hill's Scott Cannon pumped his fist. The Hammond bench stood tall, trying to fight back tears. One crowd rushed the mat, as the other stood in silence.

Yet another chapter in Howard County's best wrestling rivalry had come to a close.

It will be one to remember, that much is certain. Needing a major decision and a pin in the final matches of the dual, River Hill got exactly that to storm back and beat the host Bears, 28-27, yesterday. The win, in all likelihood, puts the Hawks in position to win their second straight county title, pending a Jan. 30 meeting with Mount Hebron.

"The River Hill-Hammond dual - there is nothing like it," said River Hill's Ryan Green. "They want to beat us worse than any other team we wrestle. And it's the same for us with them. It was a great match today."

Had Cannon, the Hawks' heavyweight, not pinned Hammond's Jefferson Darnya, the Bears would have been the ones celebrating. But after battling in virtually every match, one point proved to be the difference.

"I knew it was going to be close and I figured we'd have to win the last three [matches] to pull it out," said Hawks coach Earl Lauer. "This gets us one step closer to a Howard County championship."

River Hill came in as the favorite, but as the matches proceeded, it was apparent that Hammond had come to wrestle. River Hill went up 9-0 after a pin by Vince Cina at 103 and a win by Danny Allen at 112, but Hammond answered as Russell Tebeleff pinned Kevin Cannon at 119 and Mike Azoulay earned a major decision over Ryan Shevland at 119.

"We don't go away at Hammond," said first-year coach Pedro Barbosa. "We never will, we never have. There is plenty of history to back it up. I don't care who we have or who we've lost to graduation ... We don't ever quit."

From there it was a dogfight. Green narrowly defeated Hammond's Jimmy Davis, 3-2, at 130 to make it 12-10, and a win by Matt Shevland made it 15-10. Ryan Mackin tied it at 15 with a technical fall over Nick Shevland at 140, and then Hammond put River Hill on the run with wins by Marshall Porter (152), Brent Gailey (160) and Scott Wallace (171).

Up 27-18, Hammond looked like it might have just enough, but Jesse Fawcett scraped together a 12-4 major decision over Manuel Patino, getting an important takedown with less than 30 seconds left, setting the stage for Cannon's pin to win the match.

"We knew they matched up well, but we were confident," Cannon said. "I worked hard all summer for a situation like this, and now I know I can win at the end when it matters."

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