Competing for the first time at home this season, the Durant Lion wrestling team gave perennial power Shawnee all it wanted in dual competition Tuesday night with wins in seven of the night’s 14 scheduled matches.
The youthful Lions however couldn’t make up enough points from several early fall decisions and a forfeit to the Wolves in dropping a 39-31 district decision.
Now 8-3 in dual competition, Durant travels to Ada today before taking part in the ultra-tough Carl Albert Tournament starting on Friday in Midwest City.
Durant trailed 18-0 after a pair of fall defeats and a forfeit in the three smallest weight classes before beginning its comeback.
Unbeaten Tagen Jamison got things rolling at 126 pounds with a second period fall win over Shawnee’s E.J. Chotkey.
The freshman stalwart opened the scoring with a takedown and near fall in the first frame for a 5-0 advantage before coming up with a reversal early in the second and ensuing pin at the 1:13 mark.
That cut the Wolves’ lead to 18-6 but DHS gave the six points right back despite a solid effort from Caden Orlando at 132 pounds. That battle with Ivan Green was scoreless through one stanza and Orlando trailed just 2-0 heading into the final period before falling via fall with only 13 seconds left.
Durant countered with wins at 138 and 145 pounds from the sophomore tandem of Connor Hall and Cody Hicks.
Hall picked up a hard-fought 5-0 decision against Joseph George, grabbing the early lead with a takedown and finished it off in the third stanza with an escape and takedown.
Hicks meanwhile continued his strong start after missing the first semester with injury by posting a pin fall victory over Kylin Workman at the 25 second mark of period number two.
At 152 pounds, Ethan Horner was in a tight battle with Donny Bertram that see-sawed back and forth. Horner tied the contest with an escape to start the third frame, but Bertram got the winning points on a takedown with just 1:12 remaining on the way to an 8-4 verdict.
After a fall loss at 160 pounds, the hosts reeled off three consecutive impressive victories to narrow the Shawnee lead to 33-26.
Fulton Gorges dominated from the start at 170 pounds on the way to a convincing 17-3 decision against the Wolves’ Dyson Tully. He led 5-0 after one period and 8-0 through two before intentionally allowing three points on escapes in the final stanza while looking for a pin opening.
Arguably the most exciting match of the night came at 182 pounds where Lion senior Braden Rudolf bumped up a weight class to challenge Chance Anders.
Rudolf trailed 7-4 after one period and by the same margin heading into the third but notched an escape and takedown with 1:25 left to tie things up. Anders came back with an escape to surge back in front by a point, but the Durant grappler had the final points in snagging a takedown with 19 seconds remaining for the 9-8 decision.
Much like Gorges, Isaiah Wright was in control throughout and posted a 17-5 decision over Cade Powell.
The DHS run ended with a fall loss at 220 pounds before Josh McKim finished things up by pinning Coby Ezell at the 25-second mark of period number two.
“Our little guys are real inexperienced and unfortunately we lost a couple early by pin and dug ourselves too big a hole to overcome,” Durant head coach Jim Taylor commented. “We had three guys though that did things tonight they didn’t think they could do. Braden (Rudolf) moved up a weight to wrestle a real strong kid. Fulton (Gorges) and Isaiah (Wright) both were in command but had to let their opponent go and try to take them down looking for fall. We just have to continue to learn what we can do as a team. We’re so young that when bad things happen, or we get tired we start thinking about that instead of fighting through it. When we figure that out these guys are going to be a really good wrestling team.
“We have some guys that are going really good right now. We have two wrestlers that are undefeated this year and three others that only have one loss. If you’re wrestling 20-something times with that kind of results you’re doing something right. We’re going to have to be ready this weekend though because this will be the toughest competition we’ll see before our regionals. There will be the caliber of wrestlers at Carl Albert that we haven’t seen yet this season.”