JACKSON TWP — Mars wrestling coach Zach Maisner knew his team would be in a hole early, but could make a push to get back later.
Seneca Valley made sure that wasn't going to happen.
The Raiders — thanks to two forfeits and a technical fall by Nick Zoria at 120 pounds — raced out to a 17-0 lead, but used a 24-3 run in the middle weights to come away with a 47-24 victory Wednesday.
“Going into the 170-pound match, it was looking like they had some life,” Seneca Valley coach Kevin Wildrick said. “They were creeping back in.”
“I had told the kids in the locker room,” Maisner said, “that we'd be down — and we had one kid out with the flu — but I had a great idea that we would catch up to them by 182.
“The pin at 182 (by the Raiders' Jake Eaton over Nathan Bair in 1:18), that totally set us backward. This team, we seem to take one step forward but two steps back,” Maisner added.
After the early lead, Mars rebounded with an 11-5 decision by Richie Boeh over Zain Skalos, then Andrew Schultheis pinned Seth Schiever in 3:27 to cut the deficit to eight points, 17-9.
That's when the Raiders (5-1) made their move as Brennan O'Shea (138) earned a 6-3 decision over Chris Lorch, Austin Leon (145) a pin over Tyler Cybach in 1:22 and Tyler Schillaro (152) a 19-4 technical fall victory over Andy Selker to open up a 31-9 advantage.
Ryan McMahon would post a 3-1 decision over Steven Rudolph at 160 for Mars (0-3) to make it 31-12, but the Raiders won the next two matches — a 16-8 major decision by Brad Hensler over Steve Crawford and Eaton's pin — to take an insurmountable 41-12 lead.
“Those middle weights are our strength,” Wildrick said. “We're strong from 106 down through the middle weights.”
Eaton's pin started a run of four pins to end the match: Mars' Austin Bitzer at 195 and Trey Turnblacer (285) while the Raiders' Tyler Miller had one in between at 220.
The Planets have had a tough go in their new classification, this one year after reaching the WPIAL Class AA team playoffs.
Said Maisner, “We had great expectations, but if someone's not sick or not on vacation or injured ...
“This match was more about improvement. We knew it was going to be a tough one. Seneca Valley has a tough lineup.”
The Raiders will return to the mat Saturday (Dec. 22) in a makeup match at North Allegheny while the Planets will take part in the Southmoreland Tournament next weekend.
Seneca Valley 47, Mars 24
106-Alex Lynch (SV) won by forfeit; 113-Ben Lynch (SV) won by forfeit; 120-Nick Zoria (SV) tech. fall over Silas Bender, 4:34 (15-0); 126-Richie Boeh (M) dec. Zain Skalos 11-5; 132-Andrew Schultheis (M) pinned Seth Schiever 3:27; 138-Brennan O'Shea (SV) dec. Chris Lorch, 6-3; 145-Austin Leon (SV) pinned Tyler Cybach, 1:22; 152-Tyler Schillaro (SV) tech. fall over Andy Selker, 6:00 (19-4); 160-Ryan McMahon (M) dec. Steven Rudolph, 3-1; 170-Brad Densler (SV) major dec. over Steve Crawford, 16-8; 182-Jake Eaton (SV) pinned Nathan Bair, 1:18; 195-Austin Bitzer (M) pinned Ryan Muma, :48; 220-Tyler Miller (SV) pinned Jeremy Hughes, 3:43; Hwt.-Trey Turnblacer (M) pinned Brady Moore, 1:53