COAL TOWNSHIP — They don’t give out a coal bucket when the Shamokin Area and Mount Carmel Area wrestlers battle. Nevertheless, this is a dual meet that neither team ever wants to lose.
That was the mentality of Mount Carmel’s Hunter Minnig on Thursday night when he shook hands at the center of the mat with Shamokin’s Nate Yost with the Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference crossover meet knotted at 21-all.
Moments after he had helped the Red Tornadoes rally for a 39-21 victory at the Purple Palace, the Mount Carmel junior said the pin and the team win was “even better” because it came against Shamokin.
“(We want to) beat them in everything,” Minnig said with a smile.
But before he could celebrate, Minnig, like his team, had to battle from behind.
Shamokin coach Todd Hockenbroch made a sudden change, forfeiting to MCA’s Damon Dowkus at 182, allowing Mount Carmel to tie the match at 21-all. Instead, he sent the freshman, Yost, to face Minnig at 195.
The move looked like gold when Yost hit Minnig with a single-leg takedown for a 2-0 lead just 28 seconds into the bout, but the Red Tornado rallied for a pin.
“I went with what I thought was the better matchup for our guy,” Hockenbroch said, adding, “We wrestled to our ability tonight. Overall I though we wrestled well.”
He added, “All I ask my guys to do is compete and I think for the most part they did and most of the matches were pretty exciting,” he said.
Minnig quickly escaped, took Yost down and cradled him for a fall in 1 minutes, 45 seconds to give the Red Tornadoes (7-3) the lead for good.
“He did catch me off guard on that first single but you’ve just gotta fight, you got to get that defense in — fight for everything,” he said.
Mount Carmel coach Steve Pesarchick said, “We told him to go out and work some takedowns and go from there and that’s what he did.”
At that point, Pesarchick, breathing a tad bit easier than he was earlier, knew his team had won another battle with its rival.
By starting at 106, Pesarchick had a pair of hammers waiting in the wings in case things got out of hand.
Austin Reed and Colin Herb took care of business with first-period falls at 220 and 285 to wrap it up.
Noting that Reed and Herb are pinners, he said, “My concern was ‘I hope it’s not out of hand when we get to them.’ Hunter’s pin was huge.”
Shamokin (2-3) never trailed in the meet until Minnig’s pin at 195.
Minnig added, “Our upper weights were the anchor to get the win.”
After a double forfeit to start the night, Mount Carmel forfeited to freshman standout Wade Alleman (8-5) at 113.
Shamokin’s Collin Bozza battled tough against Jake Adzema, who had pinned him in the season-opening Darren Klingerman Invitational, losing 10-5. Bozza scored the first takedown and led 3-2 after a period, but the MCA junior scored six second-period points and secured the win with a two-point nearfall with 32 seconds left.
Shamokin got a boost at 126 when Tyler Whary, trailing 4-2 after a period, used a double arm-bar to deck Trevor McDonald in 5:26 in a bout with more scrambles than a diner at breakfast time. That extended the home team’s advantage to 12-3.
“That was huge. We had the win and then boom next thing we know we’re getting pinned,” Pesarchick said. “We thought we had it in the bag.”
Mount Carmel closed it to 12-9 with back-to-back decisions at 132 and 138 by Zack Reed and Thomas Davitt, but Wolfgang Pearson and Max Madden got it right back with decisions at 145 and 152 to make it 18-9.
Bruce Carl used an arm-bar and a half-nelson to pin Bastile Delate in 1:37 at 160, but Damon Backes gave the Indians hope with a mild upset 5-2 win over Shane Weidner. The bout was tied at 2 after two, with Backes getting the lone takedown. Backes escaped in the third and clinched it with another takedown at the buzzer.
“It was a great match. Hats off to Todd Hockenbroch,” Pesarchick said. “They had us on the ropes, they came to wrestle tonight.”
Hockenbroch said, “It’s Shamokin versus Mount Carmel. Very seldom is it a blowout. The kids just go after one another and it’s fun to be a part of it.”
Notes: Shamokin had a 14-11 advantage in takedowns…MCA was without sophomore 132-pounder Tyler Owens, who broke his arm in last weekend’s Bob Rohm Duals at Bloomsburg University.