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When Sherwood’s Jacob Rogers stepped onto the mat for his 220-pound bout against Andrew Atienza of Bethesda-Chevy Chase on Jan. 26, his Warriors’ squad was down by three points and in desperate need of a victory.
Rogers had just watched teammate Ariel Nzi (195) lose a see-saw battle by fall against the Barons’ David Folivi.
“That was a very crazy match, but I knew I had to focus on my match because I knew it was coming down to me,” said Rogers, a junior. “My coaches told me to wrestle my match and to worry about what I do and not what the overall score was at the time.”
Rogers followed instructions, with his third-period escape edging Atienza in a dramatic match, 1-0, decision. The win made the overall score, 32-all, and the teams were still tied through several criteria, including seven-each in victories, three each in pins and two-each in major decisions.
But the determining criteria was the total number of first points scored in matches, giving the edge to the Warriors, 8-6.
In what was a tri-meet at Richard Montgomery, the Warriors defeated the Rockets, 75-6, and the Barons, 74-0.
“B-CC wrestled tough. Hats off to them. But I’m real proud of our kids. They wrestled tough and found a way to come up with the victory,” said coach Pete Siarkas, whose Warriors improved to 17-2 overall.
“We preach that it comes down to every point. With the tie-breaker coming down to most first points scored, it was nice to see that we won the match on a first-period takedown.”
The Warriors received pins from seniors Sam Ewing (138) and Chris Sanchez (145) as well as junior Adam Pfeiffer (182), while the Barons’ falls were recorded by Folivi, freshman Isaac Guttentag (106) and junior Christian Simpson (113).
Major decisions came from Warriors’ junior Brady Holda (120) and senior Yusuf Higazi (170) as well as Barons’ senior Eli Guttentag (132) and Jeo Martinez (152).
The Warriors also received decisions from Rogers and junior Armon Nettey (126), and the Barons, from Evan Wassmann (160) and Alhassane Kouyate (285).
“It was pretty nerve-wracking, and I still had a bunch of adrenaline going after my match and a bloody nose, so I went into the locker room to clean that up,” said Rogers. “I wasn’t even out there when they announced the decision, but I heard a bunch of yelling and screaming. I know I need to work on more moves than what I did, but I got the win for the team and that matters most.”
Folivi and Nzi took the mat with two bouts left, following Pfeiffer’s pin and the Warriors’ enjoying their only lead, 29-26.
Folivi’s third-period pin came after Nzi was initially assumed to have a 6-5 after two periods. But the second and third stanzas were determined to be “bad time” and essentially had to be re-wrestled.
Folivi had been ahead, 3-2, entering the second after Nzi had twice taken injury times. In accordance with regulations, that allows Folivi to have the choice between the top, bottom or neutral positions over the two remaining periods.
But the referee missed the call, so after the buzzer had sounded, ending the match, Barons’ Coach Nick Arnone brought the mishap to the referee’s attention.
“It’s pretty rare to get two injury times in the third period, and I remember reading through the rulebook. I took note of that – if that situation did occur, we should have choice at the beginning of the second and third periods,” said Arnone. “So, as the third period unfolded, I thought, ‘We should have had choice to start that period.’ I looked into the rulebook and found it in the middle of that period. I called [the referee] over and he was like, ‘Yeah, that’s the right call.’”
Folivi watched the points be taken off the board in favor of restarting the match with Nzi trailing, 3-2, and he was able to rally for the victory.
“They had gotten into some crazy scrambles in a great match,” said Arnone. “The Sherwood kid had David on his back at the end of the period.”
Each of the programs has a balanced lineup.
For the Warriors, Higazi was a regional champion and finished third at counties. Ewing was fourth at counties and third at regions, and Christianson, fifth at counties and third at regions last year.
Pfeiffer placed fourth and fourth at counties and regions as a freshman, and he was fourth and third last year.
Brady Holda was a junior varsity county runner-up to Nettey last year, and Brady’s twin, Brandon, returns to the 113-pound weight at which he won 30 matches and was fifth and fourth at counties and regions.
The Warriors trailed the Barons, 15-0, after three matches before Brady Holda and Nettey took the match to bring them within, 15-7.
“I knew that we had some tough matches at lower weights, and we’re kind of a momentum team. Once Brady started us off with that first win, everybody got riled up,” said Nettey.
“Paul had a tough match, but Sam and Chris kept it going, and so did many others. Once we get off to that kind of momentum, we’re hard to stop.”
The Barons (8-3) were coming off a 42-30 victory over Blair on Jan. 23.
Critical to the Barons’ success have been the Guttentag siblings, freshman Ike (106) and senior Eli, with sophomore Drew (1454) missing Saturday’s action due to an injury.
Eli earned county and regional titles as a ninth-grader, and has placed third at states as a freshman and junior. During each occasion at states, Eli’s semifinal loss was to the eventual champion – Bel Air’s Brent Lorin – in the first instance, and Linganore’s Earl Blake last March.
Ike was a multi-junior league place-winner, in succession – finishing first, second, fourth and fifth at the Maryland State Wrestling Association’s states where Drew placed second.
Drew posted an 11-3 record during last year’s injury-shortened 10th-grade season, and Simpson was a county runner-up and fourth-place regional finisher.