NEWVILLE - Calling it a dogfight wouldn't even begin to describe the battle that took place on the wrestling mat between the Shippensburg Greyhounds and the Big Spring Bulldogs on Thursday night.
After a Mid Penn Colonial Division rivalry match that was filled with both individual and team penalties alike, the Bulldogs reigned victorious, 41-15.
"In every sport, it's always pretty heated against Ship, so it feels real good," Bulldog senior Greg Warner said. "They always beat us in football, so we always like to beat them in wrestling. It feels good just to get a win for our school in this rivalry."
Although there were eight good bouts to start the match, the conflict didn't really rear its head until the 113-pound showdown.
With the Bulldogs (3-2, 3-0 MPC) leading 25-9 heading into the ninth bout, Shippensburg's Justin Evans met Josh Fauver, and things began to get really heated.
Evans earned a takedown early in the first period. When Fauver received a false start warning near the end of the period, tempers began to flare. Early in the second, Fauver got a takedown of his own but was quickly penalized for locked hands.
After a break in the action, Fauver was penalized a second time for not having his headgear secured properly. That penalty angered him and his coaches, and Ship earned another two points for an unsportsmanlike conduct call against the Bulldogs. In the end, Evans scored a 7-3 decision the Hounds (1-3, 1-3 MPC) desperately needed.
"It's always heated like this with us," Ship senior Cary Hess said. "It was at Big Spring, and they had the home crowd going for them. I figured it would be a good match."
Another turning point in Big Spring's favor immediately followed when Dylan Failor avoided a pin by Ship's Zane Hershey. Hershey had Failor in perfect position late in the third, but Failor somehow managed to worm his way out of danger and escape with just a 4-3 loss.
"He's just double-jointed - literally," Big Spring coach Dave Cox said. "Most guys would've went over, but he's so double-jointed and so flexible that it's hard to get over him."
Warner immediately followed with a pin that basically sealed the deal for the Bulldogs as he brought his team's lead to 15 points with just three bouts left.
"That's where we started to really get to where the meat of our lineup is," Cox said. "I was expecting to have a little run there to end the match, and we did (win the final three bouts)."
Although the Hounds lost the first five consecutive matches, coach Tony Yaniello attributed most of that to a lack of recent mat experience. Shippensburg had not wrestled since Dec. 20, and both Tommy LaRue and Justin Timko - who wrestled to start the match - have practiced only twice in that time.
Yaniello also said another big issue was Ship's complete lack of confidence against their rival.
"What disappoints me more than anything is that we'll go out against Gettysburg and (teams like that), and we'll wrestle like a million dollars," Yaniello said. "But if we would have that same effort against these better teams, I truly believe we could've won seven matches tonight. I think they're imtimidated, and they're just so used to losing to them."
The Hounds have not beaten Big Spring since 1998.
The bright spots for Shippensburg were Brandon Stitt, who picked up an 8-2 decision over Noah Rife to give the Hounds their first victory of the night, and Hess, who pinned Sam Tiyger in just 17 seconds.
"I knew I could just go out there, and getting the pin is always good for my team, obviously," Hess said. "And we had some guys that should've won that wrestled good matches, but it just didn't turn out in their favor."
One such instance was Dylan Herb. Ranked No. 16 in the state in Class AAA, he took on 20th-ranked Tommy Rayhart, who flipped Herb for a reversal at the last second for a 4-2 decision.
"Dylan knew that kid was tough and just didn't adjust to his quickness, but we lost more because of technique there," Yaniello said. "So I was happy with the way he wrestled because I know he can correct technique."
Lizi Arbogast can be reached at 262-4788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big Spring 41, Shippensburg 15
152 - Hank Donavan (B) md Tommy LaRue, 9-1
160 - Tim Hair (B) d Justin Timko, 6-2
170 - Cody Seibert (B) d Chris Williams, 8-1
182 - Danny Hockensmith (B) p Stephan Manders, 5:04
195 - Tommy Rayhart (B) d Dylan Herb, 4-2
220 - Brandon Stitt (S) d Noah Rife, 8-2
285 - Cary Hess (S) p Sam Tigyer, 0:17
106 - Josh Paisley (B) p Daquan Woods, 5:37
113 - Justin Evans (S) d Josh Fauver, 7-3
120 - Zane Hershey (S) d Dylan Failor, 4-3
126 - Greg Warner (B) p Derek Watson, 2:51
132 - Wyatt Keck (B) tech Andrew Dozal, 17-2, 3:36
138 - Chad Wickard (B) md Nathan Coldsmith, 16-3
145 - Bradley Lay (B) d Elijah Harris, 9-5
Note: Big Spring deducted team point at 113; deducted another team point after match for unsportsmanlike conduct by assistant coach.
Next match: Thursday, at home vs. Gettysburg, 7.