Oregon City upper weights lower boom on Clackamas upset bid, 39-28
Oregon City heavyweight Zach Zumwalt was fired up and ready to wrestle when he stepped on the mat for Wednesday's final match of the night at Clackamas High School.
Zumwalt pinned Clackamas' Alex Hall at 46 seconds of the first round, providing the exclamation point on the Pioneers' 39-28 come-from-behind Mt. Hood Conference dual victory over the Cavaliers.
"The first few matches didn't go our way and we may have overlooked Clackamas a little bit, but we battled back," Zumwalt said. "A couple key matches got the tide turning for us, we kept it rolling, and then the intensity got real good at the end. That's what helped us pull through."
Clackamas spotted Oregon City 12 team points with forfeits at 132 pounds and 195, yet the Cavaliers won seven of the first 10 contested bouts to take a 28-21 lead.
After Clackamas' lead dwindled to 28-27 with the forfeit at 195, Oregon City's Lane Marshall overwhelmed Clackmas' Cory Ewry in a physical, emotionally-charged, 220-pound bout that ended with Ewry conceding early in the second round under direction from Cavaliers coach Jayson Wullbrandt.
That gave the Pioneers their first lead of the dual, 33-28, and set the stage for Zumwalt to put the dual out of reach, although the Cavaliers still had an outside chance for the win if Hall could get a pin.
"Lane's match got everyone super-hyped up for the last match, because the dual still could have gone either way," Zumwalt said. "I think both teams were pretty riled up.
"For me, Lane gave us the lead and all I really had to do was not get pinned. But in my head, I was thinking like, 'I'm going to go out and beat this kid, because I know I can.' And that's how we were going to win."
Zumwalt made a couple of fakes and then grabbed Hall in a front headlock, taking him to the mat and turning him to his back in the same motion.
"I had to be aggressive from the start and work him real quick," Zumwalt said. "As a team, we needed this to help boost our confidence. We got beat pretty bad at David Douglas (45-28) and a few people were not too happy.
"We worked pretty hard in practice all week, and even though we came out flat tonight, we kept believing in each other."
If Clackamas had anybody at 132 or 195, it might have been a different story.
"I'm thankful we had two forfeits," Pioneers coach Bobby Bates said. "That was pretty much the difference. We win by 11 points, and we get 12 points in forfeits, so Clackamas out-wrestled us.
"Clackamas came to wrestle, and for awhile there, I think they wanted it more than we did. I think we came in a little complacent and not very ready to wrestle, but we were able to battle within the matches, some of them a little too little, too late."
The Cavaliers dominated the lower weights, jumping out to a 16-0 lead when Alejandro Wilson-Menjivar won by a 9-1 major decision at 106, Samuel Zavelystsya won by a 10-8 decision at 113, David Nicola won by a 6-2 decision at 120, and Ben Harvey scored a second-round fall at 126.
After Oregon City got on the scoreboard with the forfeit at 132, Lucas da Silva's 9-5 decision at 138, and Austin Canchola's fall at 145, Clackamas' Noah Wachsmuth won by fall at 152 to give the Cavaliers a 22-15 lead.
Next came one of the key turning points in the dual at 160 pounds. Clackamas' Danny Pacheco had a 3-0 lead over Oregon City's Kaden Nelson in the third round when Nelson countered a Pacheco takedown attempt, put Pacheco on his back and scored a pin with 13 seconds remaining.
"He (Pacheco) shot in and I got a cow-catcher and turned him," Nelson said. "He had his arms up when he was shooting in and I caught him."
Instead of Clackamas pushing its lead to 25-15, the Pioneers climbed within 22-21 -- a nine-point swing.
"That was a tough one," Wullbrandt said. "You want to win that one, but I don't fault anything Danny did. He's being aggressive and he wants to keep scoring. That's an awesome mentality to have and ultimately that will serve him well down the road.
"But you have to be aware of the situation, and don't put yourself in positions where you're going to end up on your back."
Said Bates: "That was a freakin' huge match. Talk about guts by Kaden Nelson. That turned out to be the pivotal match of the night. That match decided who won the dual."
Clackamas' Ethan Edgerly won by a 5-1 decision at 170, and Domonic Chimienti won by a 7-1 decision at 182 -- impressive wins for two wrestlers coming off recent illness.
At the same time, Wullbrandt said if Pacheco had held on to win at 160, he might have asked Edgerly and Chimienti to try and score bonus points that potentially would have put the Cavaliers in position to possibly tie or win the dual.
"If we win 160, it's a nine-point swing, and you feel pretty good going forward," Wullbrandt said. "With Ethan and Dom, we probably could have tried for the major decision versus trying to just ride those guys out.
"But both those guys had been sick and you're nervous about … well, if I do try and get the major and we go to our feet, can we sustain that pace? If we're in great shape, you can do that. They looked OK, but in that scenario, you're kind of like, 'just keep on top.'"
At 220, tempers flared between Marshall, the Pioneers' defending district champion, and Ewry, the Cavaliers' junior, when the two got in close quarters and the top of Ewry's head made contact with Marshall's chin.
Late in the first round, Marshall muscled Ewry off his feet, put him on his back and was close to a pin when the referee stopped the action with 11 seconds remaining, awarding Marshall a rare four-point near fall while allowing the dazed Ewry time to regroup.
With both wrestlers on their feet to start the second round, Marshall pushed the pace so aggressively in the first 30 seconds that Wullbrandt felt it was necessary to step in and stop the match.
"I like physical wrestling, so I'm not going to say anything about that," Wullbrandt said. "I told Cory, 'If he wants to clamp on your head and crunch your head, if it's illegal, the referee is going to say something. If it's not illegal, don't react to it.'
"That's easier said than done when you're in the heat of the match and your team is in a crazy-close dual. But Cory and I have an agreement that if it looks like there's a chance that things are going to get out of control, I'm going to pull him from the match and not let him finish."
With that, the Pioneers moved in front of a dual that had "potential upset" written all over it.
"Great job by Jayson and the Clackamas coaching staff," Bates said. "They came to wrestle and they weren't going to be like, 'Oh, we're going to bow down to Oregon City.' They came and punched us in the face. It was great."
Said Wullbrandt: "I think the game plan we had and the preparation we had was what we needed to do to win. A lot of what we talk about is, 'Don't accept a loss and be happy with the effort that you're putting in and the progress that is being made.'
"I think that's what you focus on. Are we making progress? Are we putting forth the effort? Are we doing what we've been preaching out there, which is being aggressive and getting takedowns and not backing down against good competition? As long as you see that, I think you're OK with the end result."