When the Rock Island wrestling team needed to seize control, the lower weights did their thing.|
Relying on their strength to overcome an early deficit on Thursday night, the Rocks were able to continue their Western Big 6 Conference dominance with a 36-27 win over Moline at a raucous Rock Island Fieldhouse. In winning its 15th consecutive league dual, Rocky used its lower weights to secure five straight victories and nine bonus points.
"That's the heart of our lineup," Rocky coach Joel Stockwell said. "We had to get as many points as possible and be able to weather the storm up top. I can't say one negative thing about any of them (in the lower weights). All our kids wrestled to their ability."
Trailing 9-0 after Moline opened with a decision and fall, respectively, from Trenton Jackson (106 pounds) and Caleb Schnell (113), the Rocks shook off the slow start with a five-bout swing that included three falls.Tyler Dehaven (120), B.J. McGhee (126) and Devin Syler (138) all secured pins, providing nine bonus points. Chase Wiggins (132) and Jean-Louis Sawadago (145) both had decisions to give Rocky a 24-9 lead midway through the dual.
"We were ready," Wiggins said. "We're happy with those wins."
After that stretch, the Maroons could only string together back-to-back wins once. That was the final two bouts when the outcome was decided.
"We knew the dual meet would be decided in that section," Moline coach Todd Thompson said.
Take away Eddie Perez's 220-pound fall and Adarios Jones' forfeit victory at 285 and the Maroons allowed nine more bonus points than they secured. They also allowed the first points in eight of the 13 contested bouts.
"To be honest, my seniors didn't show up," said Thompson, who also received decisions from Daltyn Dodd (152) and Zach Fowler (182). "It comes down to them. We were expecting points in certain situations that we didn't get. We were expecting our seniors to step up and not give up points in certain situations, and that didn't happen either."
The lower weights ensured the two-time defending league champions were in control, but the upper weights provided some cushion as well. Marcus Jackson (160), Michael Cole (170) and Keith Lawrence (195) each won.
"I'm proud of them," Stockwell said.
Better yet, the Rocks have won three consecutive times in the series.
"This feels amazing," Wiggins said. "They can't run their mouths anymore. We're shutting them up; not by talking, but doing — which is better."