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MILLERSVILLE — When a team pushes all the way to the end, it’s amazing what it can accomplish.

In a match that came down to the very last bout, Solanco freshman Averex Grant’s third-period pin completed the Mules’ thrilling comeback to defeat the host Penn Manor Comets, 36-33 and remain undefeated in their pursuit of a Section One title.

After Jesse

Kann received the forfeit at 220 pounds, the Comets (7-2, 2-2 Section One) took a fleeting 33-30 lead in the match after having opened with a 15-0 advantage.

But without a true heavyweight in his arsenal, head coach Mike Fowler sent out Nate Rachor to face Grant, giving up a noticeable weight advantage


A pin by freshman heavyweight Averex Grant sealed the deal for the Golden Mules on Thursday, January 14, 2016. John Buffone

in the process.

Starting on bottom in the third period, Grant rolled Rachor and completed the pin to set the Mules’ sideline celebrating.

“It’s tough, but giving up 80 pounds that’s difficult to overcome,” Fowler said in Rachor’s defense. “Once he got rolled on his back, then that’s a pin. He was tough on his feet and doing what had to do to try to hang in there.”

“Just that I had to do what I had to,” Grant said of finishing off the match, seeming especially relaxed afterward. “Just stay calm, don’t get out too fast, wrestle smart.”

A decision there would have sent the match into criteria to determine the victor. But Grant was happy to take care of things with the pin.

“It’s just our mentality, I didn’t really need the pin but it’s always best to fight for what you can get,” Grant said.

The same could be said for the Mules in general. After three pins by AJ Wilson, Joey Davis, and Wyatt Jennings, a Cody Hart decision helped Solanco take a 27-15 lead. But Penn Manor’s strength in the upper-weights helped the Comets even the match.

Jonah Barley’s pin at 160 closed the gap before Jack Zimmerman’s thrilling decision over Ben Root at 170 turned into the bout of the night.

Root took a 4-1 lead after one before Zimmerman’s second period escape and subsequent takedown evened things entering the third.

Root then escaped for an ephemeral lead, but Zimmerman managed another takedown, maintaining control by Root’s shoelaces as the buzzer rang to prevent a final escape and come away with the 6-5 win.

“When (Root) lost that I thought the rest was kind of history,” said Solanco coach John Little. “Zimmerman had more of the grit, the experience and everything else and I felt that made the difference in that.”

“He finds a way to get himself in trouble and then out of trouble which you love and hate,” Fowler said of Zimmerman. “It makes you sick, then he comes out and he can get all pumped up. But he’s a goer, he has a big heart and pushes the pace. Those are the matches you want to see. That’s what we wanted to do and that was a great match to watch.”

“That’s one (bout) I’ll watch the video just to relive some of those exciting moments,” Fowler added, altogether pleased with the way his lineup performed given the number of injuries the team faced early in the season.

While Matt Loiseau’s decision at 182 evened the score at 27-27, Solanco’s Josh Weder held on to defeat Dante Jones 11-10 for a 30-27 lead, the forfeit at 220 setting up Grant for the decisive bout.

“It’s nice to have a full team now and to be able to move guys around and to battle with teams like Solanco,” Fowler said. “On paper we wrestled our best match, it was going to come down to the end.”


Solanco 36, Penn Manor 33

At Penn Manor HS

106 — Nick Fafel (PM) p. Austin Peinhardt, 1:08

113 — Brandon Miller (PM) p. Sheldon Pfeiffer, 4:33

120 — Alex Laughlin (PM) d. Chase Charles, 2-1

126 — Grayson Charles (SOL), by forfeit

132 — AJ Wilson (SOL) p. Zach Gager, 0:56

138 — Joey Davis (SOL) p. Justin Rupp, 1:27

145 — Wyatt Jennings (SOL) p. Dustin Horn, 1:22

152 — Cody Hart (SOL) d. Evan Phelan, 10-3

160 — Jonah Barley (PM) p. Caleb McMillan, 1:28

170 — Jack Zimmerman (PM) d. Ben Root, 6-5

182 — Matt Loiseau (PM) d. Hunter Smith, 6-2

195 — Josh Weder (SOL) d. Dante Jones, 11-10

220 — Jesse Kann (PM) by forfeit

285 — Averex Grant p. Nate Rachor, 4:35

JV Score — Solanco 6, Penn Manor 0

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