Published: Feb 15, 2013 03:59 PM
Modified: Feb 15, 2013 04:00 PM
DURHAM - Although Panther Creek and Durham Jordan wrestled 14 matches on Tuesday in the opening round of the 4A playoffs, the match they did not wrestle might have been the most intriguing.
In the 182-pound weight class, Panther Creek’s Matt Powell and Jordan’s Tyrece Jones are ranked second and fourth in the state, respectively.
Neither had wrestled the other before, and the possibility existed for the two to face off three matches in.
The Falcons made a strategic decision instead, forfeiting the 182-pound bout to Powell, allowing Jones to wrestle in the 195-pound match.
Jones prevailed with a pin, and the Falcons ultimately defeated the Catamounts 39-27 in a tight match throughout. Jordan (24-7) lost in the second round against New Bern.
“You have to hand it to Jordan for being so well prepared and wrestling so well,” said Panther Creek head coach Jon Armfield. “They made a great strategic move, but I would have loved to (have) seen the match between those two.”
Panther Creek finished its season 18-5, losing only to Cary and Holly Springs in the Tri-9 Conference and advancing to the playoffs as a wild card.
The Catamounts led the Falcons 18-9 midway through the match following heavyweight Mike Sutton’s 1-0 decision over Courtland Parker.
But Jordan captured six of the next seven matches. The Catamounts’ best chance was a 4-2 loss by Shovan Bhatta against Falcon senior Spencer Service (120 pounds).
Senior Aaron Chan picked up Panther Creek’s lone pinfall victory over Keifer Knight in the 220-pound class in 2:47. Chan will attend N.C. State University in the fall and said he is thankful for his experiences with the team.
“I feel wrestling has taught me a lot of things, especially perseverance,” Chan said. “I’m proud of my team for going this far.”
Other Catamount victors included Cameron Shaffer (170), who won 7-0, and Miles Kent (132), who edged Patrick Tomasic 10-6 to pull Panther Creek to within six points at 27-21.
The opening match between Brandon Morgan and Maliik Marcin was perhaps the most exciting of the night. The two wrestlers traded leads, but Marcin tied it 7-7 in the final seconds of the third period.
In the overtime, Marcin earned a takedown with three seconds left to pull out a 9-7 win and set the tone for a competitive match.
“We had four starters out of the lineup tonight, so it is hard to pull out a win against a team like Jordan,” Armfield said. “Still, this year we had a lot of guys who worked so hard. I’m proud of each and every one of them.”
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