Cocalico knocks off defending Berks champs

By on December 9, 2015

Fromm pins for the win!

Cocalico’s Ben Fromm puts the finishing touches on Governor Mifflin’s Eric Hoffman at 220 pounds to seal the 36-31 team victory for the Eagles Tuesday night. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Cocalico’s Ben Fromm puts the finishing touches on Governor Mifflin’s Eric Hoffman at 220 pounds to seal the 36-31 team victory for the Eagles Tuesday night. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Down by one point going into the last bout, Cocalico’s 220-pounder Ben Fromm took to the mat Tuesday night in Denver with the entire team match on the line.

The Eagle sophomore wasted little time, dominating Governor Mifflin’s Eric Hoffman by a 10-1 score before pinning the Mustang 59 seconds into the second period to clinch the 36-31 non-league win over last year’s Berks County Champions in the season opener.

“This is great for the program,” exuded Cocalico head coach Matt Fittery after it was all said and done. “I don’t remember the last time we beat Mifflin. Our guys wrestled awesome. A lot of matches came down to heart. We just wanted it more.”

The two best “heart” examples came at 112 and 138. After Brady Maxwell’s first period pin at 285, Harry Gerhart was awarded a forfeit at 106, fronting the Eagles to a 12-0 lead.

Sophomore Josiah Gehr fell behind 4-1 and 6-4 to GM’s Kyle Seibert before a late second-period reversal and back points gave Gehr his first lead, something he would not surrender on his way to an 11-6 victory and a 15-0 Eagle lead.

Adam Miller’s 6-2 decision at 120 and Nate Fritz’ 37-second pin at 126 saw the Eagles lead swell to 24-0. Mifflin’s Elisah Horst pinned Mason Patterson at 132 to slow the momentum, but at 138, Cocalico’s Devon Fichtorn fell behind 8-2 early in the second stanza before starting the biggest rally of the night.

Fichtorn escaped, then grabbed a quick takedown to pull within 8-5. The Mustangs’ Alvero Moreno then snared an escape, expanding the lead to four points. Fichtorn scored another takedown with three seconds left in the second to close within 9-7.

From the down position in the third, Fichtorn escaped, then took down the Mustang for the third time and earned his first lead of the bout. He rode out the final 50 seconds for the pivotal 10-9 win and a 27-6 lead.

Despite that tough loss, Governor Mifflin was not done yet, as the Eagle faithful would find out over the next five agonizing matches.

The Eagles surrendered back-to-back pins at 145 and 152, plus a tight 5-3 decision at 160, and the lead shrunk to 27-21. Trevor Fichthorn controlled throughout at 170, but couldn’t turn Dante Cavalucci and settled for a 7-2 win and a 30-21 advantage.

The crowd was shocked, then silenced at 182 when Cocalico’s returning state qualifier Abdul Saad was pinned at the 3:22 mark of the second period by Mifflin’s Ben Maack. The Eagle star did not rise from the mat for three minutes after the loss due to an apparent injury. There was no word on the nature of the injury after the meet.

The Mustangs took their first lead of the night (31-30) at 195 as Josh Liptock had Joseph Bearinger on his back twice, before surrendering three late points, holding on for a 14-6 major decision, setting up the heroics by Fromm.

Thursday’s scheduled match for Cocalico at Manheim Central has been postponed to January 12, due to the Barons’ District Three extended season in football. Cocalico’s next action on the mats will take place Friday and Saturday in the Penn Manor Holiday Tournament.

Ephrata, meanwhile, got its season underway Saturday as the Mounts hosted their annual Ephrata Duals Tournament.

The Mounts went 1-4 on the day with their lone victory coming in a 33-24 triumph over Lebanon. Ephrata dropped matches to Downingtown East (68-6), Reading (60-16), Biglerville (54-14) and Hempfield (54-9).

Austin Jones (113) and Tyler Mentzer (152) both went 3-2 on the day to lead the Mounts.

Ephrata returns to action Friday and Saturday when the Mounts travel to Carlisle to compete in the Carlisle Invitational.

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