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Give Devils their due

December 10, 2004|BY ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Greencastle-Antrim's Chad Schick is not a scoreboard mathematician.

He's a wrestler, who just happened to add the finishing numbers to the Blue Devils' winning equation Thursday night.

"I just wanted to go out and try my best," Schick said.

He went out and beat James Buchanan's Warren Keener 9-4 at 130 pounds to give his team an insurmountable 36-21 lead with only two bouts remaining. Those three points he earned for the decision also proved to be crucial as Greencastle won its season opener 36-33 over arch-rival and Mid-Penn Capital foe JB.

"I didn't know that the match was going to depend on me," Schick said, "not until I got on my warm-ups afterward and everybody told me that we won because of me. It's exciting. I'm just glad we won. Wrestling is a team sport."

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One match into the season, this much is certain: The Blue Devils are an improved team. Last season, they finished with a 3-12 record and were routed 63-18 by JB.

"Big swing," Greencastle coach Fred Yelton said. "We couldn't be happier. Our kids were ready to wrestle."

The Blue Devils jumped out to a 15-0 lead, getting a decision from Justin Clevenger (145) and back-to-back pins from Conrad Myers (152) and Evan Strausner (160).

But with the Rockets on the ropes early, Greencastle's Eric Johnson couldn't deliver the knockout blow against Jimmy Hammond at 171. Hammond, who was on his back and seemingly done early in the first period, fought out of the 5-0 hole to prevail 9-7 and cut the deficit to 15-3, rather than extending it to 21-0.

"That would have been huge," Yelton said. "If (Johnson) pins him, their spirit is broken. He should have pinned him."

"That nine-point swing brought us back in the match," JB coach William Mitchell said.

Rockets Dustin Pine (189) and Trey Coble (215) followed with pins to tie the score at 15-15.

But Greencastle captured the lead for good at 275 as Dan Campbell recorded the night's quickest pin, decking Josh Kyler in 1:01.

"As soon as Dan pinned him, I knew that was it," Yelton said. "I knew we had them."

The Devils went up 27-15 on Zac Mathews' pin at 103 and 33-15 on Jere Woolcock's win by forfeit at 119. There was no match at 112.

Tony Vanetesse's win by forfeit at 125 made it 33-21, keeping the Rockets' hopes alive with three bouts left. But with Schick up next for the Blue Devils, Yelton knew the last two matches wouldn't matter.

"We knew Chad was going to be OK," Yelton said. "We weren't too worried about that."

The Rockets (0-2, 0-2) took the last two bouts. Aaron Lynch won by forfeit at 135 and Anthony Landis won by fall at 140 to make it 36-33. Close, but not enough.

"We're weak through the middle, and we gave up a lot of bonus points that I didn't think we'd give up," Mitchell said. "But you'll have that. I have a lot of first-year wrestlers.

"And, of course, (Yelton's) team's improved, improved 100 percent. He did his homework and coached a good match. His kids wrestled well. This is a big win for them."

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