By Josh Bronson
Pilot staff writer
After almost two weeks of down time during Christmas break, the Brookings-Harbor High School wrestling team looked sluggish in their opening dual meet, but then rallied at the end to overtake Reedsport in the second dual Thursday night.
The Bruins appeared to be out of shape and a little rusty in their first dual as they lost to the South Umpqua Lancers 49-23 in a league meet.
"Coming back from Christmas break we were out of shape and we lost about two weeks of work," senior Willie Bennett said. "If we get back in shape and wrestle like we should, we're going to have a shot at districts."
In non-league action, the Bruins were able to rebound from their shaky start and knocked off the Reedsport Braves with a team score of 42-34.
"As a whole, we wrestled better (in the second dual), but I still don't think we're where we were before break," Coach Dave Freeman said. "We just have to keep working and get better."
Thursday night was also senior night for seven Bruins who wrestled in their final home meet.
The seven seniors honored were: Bennett, Mike Schabeck, Tyler Drafahl, Cody Miller, Denny Davis, Joel Mitts and Cody Brooks.
In the opening dual against the Lancers, only four Bruins were able to take home victories to go along with junior Evan Peterson's forfeit win at 160 pounds.
At 119 pounds, junior Ray Mazyck showed superior technique and skill as he put on a clinic against Steven Spencer of South Umpqua in a 15-0 technical fall.
Mazyck jumped out to an 8-0 lead after the first period with the help of a pair of nearfalls before putting the match away in the third period.
After a scoreless first period, Bennett used a takedown in the second and a reversal in the third to take a 5-1 victory over Danny Farmer in the 140-pound weight class.
In the 171-pound division, Davis used an explosive second period to grab a commanding lead over Chris Broggi.
Davis added a reversal in the final period to secure the 9-3 win.
The only Bruin pin over the Lancers came in the final match of the dual as junior Mike Klein used a nice takedown to get Chance Crane to the mat and then turned him and pinned him in 1:12 of the heavyweight bout.
Two other matches could have gone either way for the Bruins as Miller (152) and Brooks (215) both lost in the final seconds.
Miller used a quick reversal to take a 7-6 lead over Triton Crane with just 40 seconds left in the match, but Crane escaped and scored a takedown on the weary Miller with just 10 seconds left in the match for the 9-7 win.
In his 215-pound bout, Brooks trailed 8-1 in the third period, but used an escape and a takedown to put Clay Lent on his back.
Brooks wrenched on the head and arm of Lent and had him on his back for the final 30 seconds of the match, but could not quite pull off the pin and just ran out of time in the 8-7 loss.
After losing four of their first five matches to the Braves, the Bruins were able to mount a comeback and won seven of the final eight matches, which included three forfeits over Reedsport.
Mazyck was one of only two Bruins to win both their matches on the night as he pinned Cody Manuez in 5:02.
With the score knotted at 2-2 after the second period, Mazyck was able to use his dominant position on top to turn his opponent and secure the pin midway through the final period.
Bennett was the only other Bruin to win both his matches on the night as he made quick work of Cole Freestone, pinning him in 1:12.
"It was nice to go out with a couple wins in my final home meet," Bennett said.
Bennett's win sparked the winning streak as the Bruins took the next six weight classes.
At 145 pounds, Drafahl needed an overtime period to pull out a close victory over Reedsport's Mike Cassaro.
Drafahl led 6-3 in the third period, but then was penalized for locking hands before being reversed by Cassaro to send the match into overtime at 6-6.
In the extra period, Drafahl used a double-leg takedown to spill Cassaro to the mat and then spun behind him to earn the points and the win.
"I stepped back and knew he couldn't get a shot on me and just waited for the right time and got my shot," Drafahl said of the final takedown.
In his only match of the night, Peterson looked lightening quick as he took down and pinned Tyler Hoffman in a mere 21 seconds.
At 189 pounds, Joel Mitts helped the Bruins secure the team victory as he edged out Cesar Lira in a 9-8 win.
With the score tied at 6-6 after two periods, Mitts took the 7-6 lead early in the third with as escape from the bottom.
Mitts added a single leg takedown to go up 9-6 and give him a slight cushion.
But Mitts was penalized for stalling and Lira added an escape to pull the score within a point at 9-8.
However, Mitts was able to fend off Lira's attempt at a takedown and secured the match, helping the Bruins take home a 42-34 win over the Braves.
Some of the younger Bruin wrestlers also faired well in exhibition matches as Josh Owens and Daniel Grubb each earned a pair of victories.
Also winning exhibition matches were Kyle Hover, Mike Althof and Dustin Paradis.
The Bruins are next in action today (Jan. 5) at a tournament in Reedsport.