Burrell wrestling rallies to down Kittanning
Soon after learning the Section 3-AA Subsection B match against Kittanning would open with a bout in the 113-pound weight class, Burrell wrestling coach Bud Sines looked around the visitor's locker room and spotted his closer for the match, sophomore 106-pounder Jason Roberts.
“I just walked up to him, kind of punched him in the chest and said, ‘You're going to be a hero again today,' ” Sines said. “And he just nodded his head yes.”
Roberts delivered in one of Burrell's tightest section matches in several seasons, as the Bucs prevailed, 35-33, over the Wildcats (0-1, 0-1). His 9-0 victory capped a Burrell comeback that included a 21-0 deficit through four bouts.
“I wasn't really too nervous,” Roberts said. “Last year before every match I was just too nervous, with it being my first year. And now everything is fine.”
With the Bucs (1-0, 1-0) down, 33-31, Roberts squared off against Kittanning freshman Brendon Malia. Roberts went on the offensive early, scoring a takedown 49 seconds into the bout and earning three back points later in the period.
Because the match opened at 113 pounds, Burrell anticipated it'd fall behind. Brody Trumbull secured a pin in the opening bout, Eli Butler won by forfeit, Derek Bowser prevailed, 5-1, and Jason Nolf won by pin for the Wildcats.
Momentum shifted with the middleweights. J.R. Andrejcik gave Burrell its first win with a 16-4 major decision at 138 pounds. Steven Edwards and Phil Marra followed with pins.
The two most nerve-racking bouts ended in Burrell's favor.
Corey Falleroni defeated Taylor Jack, 6-5, in the second overtime period at 160 pounds with a stunning display of perseverance. Jack, on bottom to start the second overtime, scored a reversal to lead, 5-3. But during his turn on bottom, Falleroni escaped, then scored the decisive takedown by catching Jack's ankles with 13 seconds left.
Even more dramatic, Cory Klems won at 182 pounds over Nathan Watt with an overtime pin. Klems scored a takedown midway through overtime but gave Burrell an added boost when he turned Watt.
“That's just him being on the team for the last several years,” Sines said. “Wrestling knowledge at Burrell runs deep.”
Jacob Robb (170 pounds), Zac Croyle (195) and Logan Robb (220) kept Kittanning in position to win, as the Robbs scored decisions and Croyle won by pin.
“I feel like our team let up a lot of pins, and we shouldn't have done that,” said Logan Robb, who won, 7-4. “Right now there's a lot of disappointment. We're angry at ourselves for letting up that many pins.”
Al Beattie's pin at heavyweight left Roberts with a straightforward task: Just win. He did more than enough, and the Bucs left winners of a 73rd consecutive section match and in ideal position to claim a 10th straight section title despite wrestling without three projected starters (Dakota DesLauriers, Derrick Beattie and Damon Greenwald).
“You lose those guys and then start to do the math, and you realize you're wrestling Kittanning, which is a strong team,” Sines said. “We weren't dreading it, but we came in with the idea that we knew it'd be a dog fight.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-543-1303.