By SHANNON HEATON
North Florida Matmen
JACKSONVILLE — Bolles was at a net 12-point disadvantage even before wrestling started between the Bulldogs and host Bishop Kenny Wednesday night.
But where they were at a numbers disadvantage, the Bulldogs had the experience advantage down the stretch, erasing two double-digit Crusader leads to take a 37-33 come-from-behind dual victory between the former district rivals.
“Still a rivalry, yeah, for both sides,” Bolles coach Matt Morris said. “Bolles-Kenny…Bolles-Episcopal…everybody takes those as special, but you still shake hands after.
“It’s that time of season when we can finally put 13 guys on the mat.”
Well…not quite, at least not Wednesday night. Bolles (18-15 in duals for the season) had 11 on the mats, due mainly to illness that is still affecting the team. But coming off a weekend where the Bulldogs were 8-1 at Parker Duals, losing only to 3A region qualifier Buchholz, Bolles still was able to sustain momentum.
It was Bishop Kenny (13-9), however, that started fast, getting out to an 18-6 lead with wins in four of the first five weight classes. Curtis Leggett (7-3 at 285) and Ryan Mayer (6-1 at 113) both took decisions and Connor Chylinski picked up a fall with just a couple of tenths left on the first-period clock.
“We’re no longer asking kids to be better; we’re demanding it. Not compromising on greatness. Crusader wrestling is not mediocre,” Bishop Kenny coach Nick Tillem said.
Bolles fought its way back to a 19-18 lead through the middles, as Julian Morris (138) had a third-period fall, Dalton Posick (132) a 12-3 major and Tyson Riley (145) a 13-6 win that had some moments to it late.
Bolles than forfeited to BKHS at 152 and 160, and Carter Wood (170) extended the Crusader lead to its biggest of the night, 33-19, with takedowns in all three periods for a 7-1 decision.
“We needed to get a little bit more bonus points, but it’s OK. Bolles has a a great team. We’re not ready for the post-season yet, but we will be ready. People are stepping up, being more aggressive, shooting when they needed, taking smart risks. They gotta try it,” Tillem said.
That set the stage for Bolles’ pair of experienced bigs, Ethan Asbury (182) and JT Jameson (195), to close down the dual with pins (Bryson Hubbard had a fall for the Bulldogs early on, at 106). Those, combined with a forfeit at 220, allowed Bolles to take the dual.
“If we’re going to be sick, I guess now is the time to do it. We’ve got 4 1/2 to five weeks yet. We’re not there yet, but there’s time to take the next step before it matters,” Morris said.
Match-by-match results for this dual can be found HERE.
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