ANNVILLE - Annville-Cleona’s Jerome Simon doesn’t mince words.
Nope, the veteran wrestling coach cuts right to the chase.
Saying his kids needed to battle in Tuesday night’s Lancaster-Lebanon Section 3 contest with powerhouse Northern Lebanon, Simon’s squad also knew the task at hand.
So when the Little Dutchmen jumped out to a quick 12-0 lead after back-to-back pins by Colin Myers and Zach Renninger, there was no premature celebration on the Annville side of the mat.
And there was a reason - the Vikings stormed back for a 50-27 victory.
“I’ve got to tell you,” Simon said. “They, probably, last year and this year, may be the best team that’s come out Section 3 since they’ve gone to the three-section format. I personally think this year’s team is better than last year’s. I do. They are solid at every weight class and those kids work hard, (Northern Lebanon coach) Rusty (Wallace) does a great job. He’s been with most of those kids since they were in elementary school.”
On this night, it was once again the middle of Wallace’s lineup that went to work when needed.
Trailing 15-6 going into the 145-pound bout, Northern Lebanon’s Steve Herb quickly dispatched Annville’s Zak Barr.
From there, wins by fall from Blaise Bressler at 152, Quinn Blatt at 170 and Luke Funck at 182 sandwiched a commanding tech fall victory by the Vikings’ Luis Negrerios at 160 and before Annville could muster any further momentum, it was all Northern Lebanon.
“We were favored in a lot of those matches in the middle,” Wallace said. “We were able to get bonus where we needed to get bonus. They had a lot of matches where they competed and did a nice job of slowing us down and battling.
“Their guys came ready to wrestle tonight and there were a lot of matches where they competed far more than we did.”
Wallace watched Matt Vines make quick work of Alex Wilson at 220, but then heavyweight George Thompson duked it out with Brandon Light in the match of the night, a 6-3 Light win in overtime after a late stalling call forced the extra time.
“It’s a good thing, I guess, when you’re disappointed in a 23-point win, but we have a lot of things we need to work on if we want to hit some of the goals we have," Wallace said. "There’s a lot of things we need to get to work on tomorrow. There’s a lot of things we need to fix."
Wallace didn’t go too far into detail on those things, but credited the hosts for putting up a fight.
“Annville did a nice job tonight just exposing a couple little individual weaknesses that some of our guys have,” Wallace said. "We have some guys that lacked a little bit of focus tonight.. It’s a win. It’s a good win. There were some really nice things we saw.”
“They’re very good,” Simon added. “That was about as well as we’ve wrestled all year. Very proud of the way our guys competed. They are good and our kids knew that coming in, but I thought our kids really stepped up.”
Northern Lebanon 50
106 — Kyle Anspach (NL) p David Fiebig, 0:56. 113 — Dustin Breidegan (NL) d Hayden Funck, 8-2. 120 — Colin Myers (AC) p Jarrett Huber, 3:05. 126 — Zach Renninger (AC) p Colin Leonard, 3:05. 132 — Trevor Leonard (NL) p Noah Fautz, 0:34. 138 — Josh Renninger (AC) d Zach Kelly, 6-3. 145 —Steve Herb (NL) p Zak Barr, 3:15. 152 — Blaise Bressler (NL) p Kurtis Reigle, 2:45. 160 — Luis Negrerios (NL) tf Tyler Schrader. 170 — Quinn Blatt (NL) p Everett Stout, 1:07. 182 — Luke Funck (NL) p Brayden Turner, 0:39. 195 — Mark Wagner (AC) p Hunter Wallace, 2:17. 220 — Matt Vines (NL) p Alex Wilson, 0:24. 285 — Brandon Light (AC) p George Thompson, 6:34.