Kiski Area rallies for victory over Franklin Regional
This could be the first of many meetings between No. 3 Kiski Area and No. 2 Franklin Regional this season.
Round 1 went to Kiski Area on Wednesday as the Cavaliers rallied from an early deficit for a 36-23 victory in a WPIAL Class AAA Section 1A match at home.
Kiski Area (9-0, 3-0) strung together five consecutive victories, which included pins by freshman Tyler Worthing (195 pounds) and Matt McCutcheon (220), and rallied from deficits of 15-3 and 18-6. The Cavaliers also benefited from two forfeits.
Franklin Regional (7-1, 2-1) was missing three starters, including returning WPIAL champion Michael Kemerer, who was injured in the Powerade Tournament final.
“The forfeits hurt, but this was to see who will be hosting the section tournament,” Franklin Regional coach Eric Mausser said. “I want everyone healthy. There is a good chance we'll see them two or three more times this season.”
With Kemerer (126), Conner Medlang (120) and Luke Fleck (285) sitting on the bench, Franklin Regional still started quickly. A pin by Tyler Smith (132) ignited four consecutive victories for the Panthers.
Early on, things went Franklin Regional's way. Mausser was getting the matchups he wanted. Josh Maruca handed Cole Landowski his first loss of the season, 5-1, at 145, and Josh Shields led Kyle Skelly for the entire match until the final 10 seconds.
Shields, who was a Powerade winner, was clinging to a 1-0 lead against Kiski Area's Kyle Skelly at 160 pounds. But the Cavalier senior got a two-point reversal and a two-point near fall for a 4-2 victory.
“That was a big momentum- changer,” Kiski Area coach Chuck Tursky said. “I knew Kyle has one last flurry left. I was sure he was going to do it.
“Our big guns are in our heavyweights, so it was key to get a couple wins to stop their momentum.”
After Franklin Regional's Nate Painter rallied for a 7-6 victory against Chad Kuhn, Kiski Area sophomore Dakota Lange got the win Tursky was looking for.
Lange got a takedown and near fall in overtime to defeat Jake Pickup, 5-1.
It was the first of five consecutive wins. After pins by Worthing and McCutcheon, Franklin Regional forfeited to Shane Kuhn (285) and later to Billy Molyneaux.
“Tyler has been wrestling well, and Matt looks unbelievable,” Tursky said. “The section tournament in a few weeks is going to be a barnburner.
“Whoever comes out of our section will be tough to beat. We'll have to be ready for whoever we get.”
And Tursky knows Franklin Regional, a team the Cavaliers have beaten four consecutive times, could be his biggest roadblock.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-836-5095.