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Bobcats Fare Well At Redbank Valley Duals (01/09/2018)

Cutter Boggess working from the top.

(By CSZ Sports Writer Kenn Staub)  The Clarion Bobcat wrestling team made the short trip south to New Bethlehem on the lastSaturday of 2017 (Dec 30) to face squads from Youngsville, Punxsutawney, Keystone, Brashear, Conneaut at the annual Redbank Valley Duals. Though Head Coach Brian Luton went in with the goal of winning all five dual meets, he considered the Bobcat’s record of 4-1 a “very respectable performance as a whole.”

Clarion began the day by cruising to a 54-18 win over the Youngsville Eagles out of District 10. The Bobcats took six of the seven contested bouts and picked up three forfeits. Login Dehner (113-pounds), Colton Zacherl (132-pounds), Cutter Boggess (138-pounds), and Nick Porciello (160-pounds) collected first period pins, with Frank Weber (145-pounds) sticking his opponent in the second and Seth Nellis (182-pounds) the third. Camden Boggess (170-pounds), Colt Stimmell (195-pounds), and Tom Wurster (220-pounds) received forfeits. Youngsville scored a fall at heavyweight and collected their other twelve points via forfeits.

Frank Weber working on one of his fiv pins.

The Bobcats followed up their opening round win by downing the Punxsutawney Chucks 39-24.  Clarion received forfeits at 113- and 132-pounds (Dehner and Zacherl, respectively) to grab a 12-0 lead. The Chucks took the first contested bout, a 7-2 decision at 138-pounds, to put three points on the board. Weber extended Clarion’s lead to 18-3 with a first period pin (1:42) at 145-pounds, after which the Bobcats gave up a forfeit at 152-pounds to make the team score 18-9. Clarion and Punxsutawney then exchanged decisions, with Porciello scoring three takedowns on his way to an 8-4 victory at 160-pounds for the Bobcats and Garrett Eddy winning 12-8 at 170-pounds for the Chucks. With the team score 21-12 the Bobcats went on a three bout pinning spree. Clarion’s Seth Nellis notched a second period pin (2:16) at 182-pounds, Colt Stimmell pinned his 195-pound foe as the second stanza came to a close (2:57), and 220-pounder Tom Wurster scored a quick first period pin (0:18) to put the Bobcats up 39-12. Punxsutawney collected a pin at heavyweight and forfeit at 106-punds to set the final score.

Clarion accepted seven forfeits and won three of four contests to defeat the Keystone Panthers for the second time this season, 54-6. Weber pinned Keystone’s Daniel Rodgers in the first period (0:49) of their 145-pound bout and Porciello edged out Panther 160-pounder Donovan Edmonds 4-3. The featured bout was at 220-pounds pitting Clarion’s Wurster against Keystone’s Tyler VanTassell, both regional qualifiers a season ago. VanTassell held a 5-4 lead after two periods of action, but Wurster took the Panther grappler down twice in the last stanza, the final coming with twenty seconds remaining in the bout, to eke out an 8-7 decision. Nathan Redding recorded a first period pin at heavyweight to give the Panthers their only team score of the match. Accepting forfeits for the Bobcats were Dehner (113-pounds), Zacherl (132-pounds), Cutter Boggess (138-pounds), Ryley McMasters (152-pounds), Camden Boggess (170-pounds), Nellis (182-pounds), and Stimmell (195-pounds).

Coach Luton gave credit to Keystone coach Tim Curtis for helping to make the Wurster/VanTassell pairing happen, noting that VanTassell had to bump up a weight class to face Wurster. The Clarion coach hopes the victory will be a confidence builder for Wurster, paying dividends in the postseason by serving as proof that he can compete at a high level.

Colt Stimmell made his season debut at the duals.

The Bobcats next faced another undermanned squad, the Brashear Bulls. Clarion won two of three contested bouts against the Class AAA WPIAL representative, a first period pin (1:29) by Weber at 145-pounds and a 16-9 decision by 195-pounder Stimmell, and received seven forfeits to claim a 51-12 victory. Bobcats receiving forfeits were Dehner (113-pounds), Cutter Boggess (138-pounds), Porciello (160-pounds), Camden Boggess (170-pounds), Nellis (182-pounds), Stimmell (195-pounds), and Matt Coleman (285-pounds). The Bulls twelve points were the product of a pin at 132-pounds and a Clarion forfeit at 152-pounds.

Clarion’s shot at an undefeated day was derailed in their final match, a 45-30 loss to the Conneaut Eagles from District 10. Despite winning four of the seven contested bouts, Conneaut pins at 132- and 160-pounds, as well as five Clarion forfeits, proved too much for the Bobcats to overcome. Clarion highlights included first period pins by Dehner (1:21) and Weber (0:41). Camden Boggess notched a 12-7 win at 170-pounds and Wurster dominated in a 7-2 decision at 220-pounds for the Bobcats. Stimmell (195-pounds) and Coleman (285-pounds) each received forfeits for Clarion.

Even though Clarion fell to Conneaut, Coach Luton thought the Bobcats “wrestled with an attitude we haven’t been able to find in previous matches. We lost the match but took a big step forward.”

Camden Boggess tries to tilt his opponent with an arm bar.

Dehner, Weber, Stimmell, and Wurster went 5-0 for Clarion. Nellis was 4-0. Porciello and Camden Boggess were each 4-1, with Zacherl and Cutter Boggess both putting up 3-2 records. Weber led the Bobcats with five pins, four coming in the first period and one in the second.  Dehner and Nellis each had two pins.

At the end of the day, Coach Luton thought his team was starting to put things together.  “We are wrestling better every match. The guys see the mistakes they make and do their best to make the necessary adjustments. That’s huge over the course of the season.”  He described his charges “as wrestling with chips on their shoulders. We are starting to believe in ourselves more and more. You can see guys trying to be more offensive and we were able to make our opponents pay for their mistakes.”

Even though the Bobcats experienced success in winning four of their five matches, Coach Luton also know that they can improve, saying “I want the team to be proud of what they are accomplishing but we can’t ever be satisfied. Moving forward we want to continue to pick up our intensity and mental toughness. Obviously we also want to continue to improve our technique and ability to recognize scoring opportunities from all positions.

Coach Luton singled out Weber for praise, saying his senior captain is “not only leading vocally but by example this season. He has really set the tone for our squad in the early going.” He was also glad to have Stimmell back in the line-up, offering up the senior’s undefeated performance on the day as evidence of how much he has been missed.

In summary, Coach Luton said, “I think as a whole this team has an attitude and we will win. As a coach that makes you proud. Our less experienced wrestlers are getting after it and our seasoned vets are producing nice wins on a consistent basis.”