Warriors topple local rivals

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 30, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

After every one of his matches as a member of the Nansemond River wrestling team, Jonathan Cohen and his family share a special tradition.

&uot;I always walk over and pump my fist toward my father,&uot; said Cohen, whose father Dennis can commonly be seen during Warriors mat battles. But for his match against local rival DeShawn Holly of Lakeland on Wednesday, Cohen would be without his biggest fan.

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&uot;My dad had shoulder surgery earlier today,&uot; said Cohen during his team’s 48-27 defeat of the Cavaliers, who were saying farewell to their oldest wrestlers &uot;Senior Night&uot; (Holly is one such veteran). &uot;Last night, he called and told me to win this one for him.&uot;

For the first period, Cohen was having trouble making his father’s hope come true. Holly lurched behind Cohen a minute in, and tossed him onto his stomach for a 5-0 lead to end the first quarter. Cohen began the second period on top of his opponent, but Holly knocked him back onto his stomach, and dragged him to the middle of the mat by Cohen’s feet.

But the Warrior senior started to take over. He rolled Holly down to get on the board, then turned him over for a near-pin that tied the score and another that gave him an 8-5 advantage. But Holly scored another takedown and near-pin, and ended the period ahead 10-8.

Cohen started the third period on top, and Holly quickly escaped for another point. But Cohen tied the score with another near-pin, and each wrestler scored a takedown as regulation ended in a 13-13 tie.

Holly was on top to open the one-minute, sudden-death extra period, and Cohen first attempted to escape. But then he knelt down, grabbed Holly’s left leg, and used it to maneuver behind the Cavalier for the match-winning points.

&uot;That match was for my dad,&uot; Cohen said. &uot;But it shouldn’t have been so tough. I’ve been waiting three years to fight him, so I got so hyped up that I wasn’t wrestling like I could. But once I got his leg, I knew it was over.&uot;

River’s Corey Mixon, Jusin Funaro and Joe Schimming were awarded forfeit victories to open the match, and Ryan Linton took on Lakeland’s Colt Eason in the 125-pound battle. As the two grappled for position, Eason scored a takedown with 1:12 left, and nearly pinned Linton. The Warrior sophomore managed to roll onto his stomach, but the Cavalier ended the period with a 5-0 advantage. But Linton scored a pair of takedowns in the second period to get to 5-4, and scored a go-behind on Eason to take the lead. He then took Eason down with 48 seconds left, and held him there until time ran out, taking a 9-5 victory.

&uot;I was upset at first,&uot; said Linton, making his return to the mat after arthroscopic knee surgery. &uot;I just kept taking him down so he wouldn’t get any points back.&uot;

Nathan Martie pinned Kenny Litland (another Lakeland senior) to take the 130-pound class, and Brent Christie was awarded the 135-pound match by forfeit, extending the Warriors’ advantage to 36-0. But senior Todd Pope finally got the Cavaliers on the board, pinning Chris Suarez in 2:39 to win the 140-pound match.

After Cohen’s victory upped River’s lead to 42-6, Brandon Aston was forfeited the 152-pound match. But Lakeland finally got rolling, as Gabe Thompson held off Brian Hawk to become the second winning Cavalier senior of the evening.

Thompson took down Hawk with 42 seconds left in the first period, and nearly pinned him for a 5-0 lead. Another takedown earned him a 7-0 advantage in the second period, and he escaped in the third to get to 8-1. Hawk scored a takedown with 30 seconds left in the match, but Thompson stayed on his stomach until the buzzer sounded.

Senior Willie Howell defeated Ben Streetman to get to 42-15, and Thomas Harper scored a controversial pinfall over River’s Steve Wilson in the 189-pound match.

With Harper ahead 12-5, the wrestlers toppled out of bounds with 23 seconds left in the match. Harper began the action on top, but the clock wasn’t started on the referee’s whistle, not beginning until the wrestlers had grappled for several seconds. As the clock reached eight seconds, Harper held Wilson’s shoulders down for the pin. River protested, but the official ruled that the clock would not have run out before the pinfall, giving the Cavaliers a pinfall victory.

In the final match, Derek Clements ended &uot;Senior Night&uot; on a high note for Lakeland, pinning Dustin Dowell in the heavyweight match.

Lakeland will return to action at the Booker T. Washington Tournament on Saturday, which begins at 11 a.m. The Warriors will host Hickory and Oscar Smith at 6 p.m. next Wednesday.