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Clutch Coyle

by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Madras senior wrestler Sam Coyle has his hand rasied by the official after he won the 152-pound bout during a dual with Ridgeview on Thursday. Madras trailed Ridgeview 36-35 going into the last match of the night, but Coyle's pin gave the Buffs a 41-36 win. Senior Sam Coyle seals Buffs dual victory with pin in final match


With victory hanging in the balance, Madras senior Sam Coyle came through when called upon.

With the White Buffalos trailing Ridgeview 36-35 going into the final match of Thursday’s dual, Coyle pinned Ridgeview’s Clay Hansen in the first round of the 152-pound bout to lift the Buffs to a 41-36 win on senior night.

“There was definitely a lot of pressure for me to perform,” Coyle said. “I knew we had to keep going, and I knew I had to get out there and give it my all.”

In matches recorded on the website www.trackwrestling.com, Coyle’s nonforfeit wins have been in the past three Madras events. He earned two wins Feb. 1 in the Frostbite Invitational, the first which snapped a seven-match losing skid. In a dual against La Pine on Feb. 6, he was pinned in 24 seconds. Madras coach Ron Oliver said Coyle has been one of the most improved wrestlers this year.

“Being a senior and going out and doing something like that in his last match at home is something he’ll always remember, I’m sure,” Oliver said. “I saw determination in his eyes, and soon as Sam got (Hansen) on his back, you could see Sam really locking down on him. Sam knew what he had to do.”

Coyle’s six points for earning the fall pushed the Buffs over the top to win, but the match before 152 could be seen as just as important.

At 145 pounds, Madras’ Trevor Parsons grinded out a 6-4 win against Cohen Merritt that earned the Buffs three crucial points. Simply put, if Parsons hadn’t won and Merritt had earned the points for a decision, Coyle’s pin would not have matter. Ridgeview would have had 39 points, and Coyle’s clutch performance would have only brought Madras’ score to 38.

Parsons went through the first two rounds tied with Merritt 2-2, with no scoring in the second round.

The third round, things started to open up for both wrestlers. Merritt scored a two-point reversal with under a minute remaining in the bout, but Parsons linked a reversal and a two-point nearfall together with less than 30 seconds left to take the lead, and eventually the bout.

“Every match that was wrestled was big for us,” Oliver said. “If a match or two goes one way or another, we don’t win.”

Madras had a string of five wins, three of which came by fall, to turn a 24-6 deficit to a 32-24 lead. Heavyweight Miguel Sevilla started the run with a pin, and then Ian Oppenlander scored a technical fall at 106 pounds. Bryce Vincent won by fall at 113 pounds, Jace Oppenlander scored a 9-2 decision, and then Jarred Dupont capped it with a pin at 126 pounds.

Madras had to forfeit matches at 160 pounds and 138 pounds, so in order to make up for those, the Buffs had to earn 12 points one way or another, and then win more matches.

Madras won eight matches on the night, and Ridgeview won six counting the two forfeits.

After the dual finished, Coyle was still running around the Buffalo Dome trying to help put mats away, hopped up on adrenaline, no doubt, and the feeling that he won his last wrestling match at his home gym.

“I wanted to make the team proud,” Coyle said. “Having this be my last match here made it that much sweeter.”

With last weekend off from competition, the Buffs will use this week to prepare for the Class 4A Special District 2 championships, which begin Friday in La Pine. Oliver said he hopes such an exciting, down-to-the-wire victory will fuel his team in the practice room so they can carry the buzz through the tournament.

“I sure hope this win helps us,” he said. “I think after a win like that, you want to dig a little deeper and work a little harder.”



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