Warriors upended in region duals final
La Plata beats Southern, then edged by Oakland Mills
On the night when they hosted the Class 2A-1A South Region duals as the top seed, the La Plata High School wrestling team was eventually toppled by How- ard County’s Oakland Mills on Wednesday evening in a dramatic clash that was not decided until the final match.
La Plata (25-16 overall) had slipped past fourth-seeded Southern of Anne Arundel County, 34-30, in the region semifinals, while third-seeded Oakland Mills had made quick work of second-seeded Kent Island of Queen Anne’s County, 48-6.
The Warriors’ victory over the Bulldogs in the semis was close since La Plata forfeited the last three matches after attaining a 3412 lead when Matt Embrey (152 pounds) pinned Southern’s Jason Toliver midway through the third period.
In the championship match against Oakland Mills, La Plata had no margin for error and the Warriors dug themselves into an early hole when Oakland Mills Abdul Malik (220) recorded a first-period pin against La Plata’s Eric Ward in the opening match then Super Scorp’s Kyle Boothe edged the Warriors’ Colton Scias- cia, 4-3, in four overtimes.
“Last year when they met, Colton beat him by a point,” La Plata head coach John Pankhurst said. “We had a lot of really good matches. I thought the effort was there from the guys against Oakland Mills. We really were not consistent in the Southern match, but that’s been the case for much of the season. We’re very young, so we’re going to have matches like that.”
When Oakland Mills’ John Ryan (152) defeated Matt Embrey 22-5, the Scorpions owned a 30-21 lead with only four matches remaining. La Plata’s David Cooksey (160) promptly gave the Warriors hope with a first-period pin over Anthony Morales, then Corbin Bales (170) edged Molban Kamara, 5-2, to bring the hosts even at 30 with two matches left.
Oakland Mills prompt-
ly regained the upper hand when Paul Johnson (182) pinned La Plata freshman Jason Moehler late in the first period. The Warriors’ Ryan Lattimer, nursing a minor foot injury, needed to pin Oakland Mills’ Aaron Smith in order to tie the final score and invoke a series of tie-breakers to determine the overall winner. In a close contest, Smith eventually prevailed, 8-5, to secure the title for the Scorpions.
Oakland Mills (11-3) heads to the state duals, which will take place at North Point starting at noon Satur- day, as the fourth seed and will take on top seed Sparrows Point of Balti- more County in the semifinals.
Early in the match, freshman Owen Butler, younger brother of 2016 2A state champion, Cameron Butler, now a freshman at Clarion University (Pa.), made quick work of Oakland Mills’ Devin Cornelius, 11-0, to nar- row the Warriors’ deficit to 9-4.
“You have to keep working hard all the time,” Butler said. “I wanted to stay aggressive right from the start in both of my matches. It was excit- ing at the end. I was hoping we could pull it out, but we still have SMAC and I’m hoping to earn enough points to get to states.”
Oakland Mills’ Daiquan Anderson (113), a 2A state finalist last winter, got the better of Josh Roberts, 113, then La Plata’s David Hayes was awarded a forfeit and Marco Federi- co (126) recorded a first-period pin over Oakland Mills’ Malik Gohman to give the Warriors a 16-13 lead.
But Oakland Mills Kyle Farace (132) then made quick work of Mike Bellerose with a first-period pin to give the lead back to the visitors. La Plata’s Jack Chipps (138) followed with an 18-2 triumph over James Pender to briefly give the lead back to the Warriors only to see the Scorpions rebound to take the win and region duals title.
In La Plata’s opening match against Southern, pins by Lattimer (195) and Butler (106) enabled the hosts to gain an early 12-3 lead. The Bulldogs rallied to get within 15-12 before Chipps (138) defeated Howard Anderson, 10-1, then Nick Meadows (145) edged Ken Lanza, 4-2, and Embrey recorded a third-period pin against Toliver.
La Plata High School’s Corbin Bales defeats Oakland Mills’ Molban Kamara, 5-2, in their 170-pound match on Wednesday evening in the Class 2A-1A South Region duals that the Warriors hosted. Oakland Mills, however, eventually edged La Plata, 39-30, to reach Saturday’s state duals at North Point High School in Waldorf.