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Falcons pummel Leopards

| Thursday, Jan. 17, 2002

Tonight, the Connellsville wrestling team will battle Kiski in a rematch of the last two WPIAL championships. But last night, the Falcons made sure they weren't looking too far ahead as they took care of business with a convincing 56-3 trouncing of visiting Belle Vernon in Section 2-AAA.

"We weren't as aggressive as what we would like them to be at this time of year," Connellsville coach Tom Dolde said. "But we wrestled solid."

The Falcons were dominant practically the whole way through the lineup.

At 103, Steve Bell jumped out to a big lead early and posted an 11-6 decision over Jason Weslager. Then at 112, Josh Martin didn't take long to finish off Travis Dunn as he flattened him with eight seconds left in the first period to make it 9-0.

The Falcons increased their lead as Seth Nicholson jumped all over Corey Weight. Nicholson picked up an impressive 17-2 technical fall in the third period.

Then the Falcons got back into the pinning mode as Brad Beal (125) planked Dan Saurtich and Buddy Graft (130) followed with a first-period fall over Butch Derrickson to make it 26-0.

The 135-pound match proved to be the most exciting bout of the night as Kyle Martin built a 3-0 lead in the second period before allowing A.J. Sayles an escape and takedown to tie the match late.

But with five seconds left in the third, Kyle Martin broke free and earned the escape for a 4-3 decision.

"Our kids wrestled hard," Belle Vernon coach Jack Jolley said. "That was a heart-breaker at 135. But I really don't feel that bad. We didn't make it easy on them. We didn't want our kids to roll over."

The Leopards (3-4, 4-4) may not have rolled over, but the Falcons (6-0, 12-3) continued to roll. At 140, Jarrod King worked his way to a 21-5 technical fall in the third period over Eric Matson. Then Brenton Tony (145) survived a late scare as he avoided a pin from D.J. Belczyk to post a 13-8 decision.

At 152, John Ferens started strong with five points, then finished strong with seven on his way to a 13-3 major decision over Elikalee Fuller.

Connellsville went up 47-0 as Jason Doppelheuer scored a bunch of takedowns before pinning Trent Scott with 20 seconds left in the 160-pound match.

Finally, the Leopards got something on the board at 171.

Trailing for virtually the entire match, Belle Vernon's Eric Zyski was able to lock up Shawn Stewart and take him to the mat for three back points as time expired. Zyski's late rally gave him an 11-8 victory and it kept Belle Vernon from being blanked.

"My 171-pounder told me he wasn't going to lose," Jolley said. "That's a sophomore with an attitude, and I like that."

But despite the one loss, Dolde was still pleased with Stewart's effort.

"Shawn was doing well," Dolde said. "He just got caught in a head lock."

The match ended as Brent Wilson received a forfeit at 189 and Greg Gray outlasted Anthony Guerra 5-2 at heavyweight.

Junior Varsity

In junior varsity action, Geoff Bittner (160) and Jason Shannon (heavyweight) each picked up a pin for the Falcons.

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