By Kevin Eickman
With the Holiday season on the horizon, the Milford Buccaneers headed up to Camden to square off against the Caesar Rodney Riders, for their second dual meet of the season. After Milford had easily dispatched Woodbridge 57-21 in their season opener, there was little illusion that the task would be similar as the Bucs faced off against former coach Dan Rigby. By design Milford has a tough non-conference schedule, but the close ties between the two schools adds a bit of spice to the rivalry.
“We know that anytime we face off against these guys they come ready to wrestle and that was exactly the case tonight,” Buccaneers coach Don Parsley stated.
Starting off at 170 pounds, Milford was able to jump out to a quick lead as senior Kaje Reynolds would earn the matches first points, with a 15-4 major decision. Freshman Bevensky Augustine would quickly follow suit with a 17-2 technical fall which saw him dominate CR’s Samuel Ervin.
The winning would continue for the Buccaneers as sophomore Eric Bennett won by decision at 195 pounds and senior Dominyc Hovington won their matches, with Hovington able to record a Major Decision at 220.
Milford recorded their first pin of the night as senior Bryan Wynes had the Buccaneers first pin of the evening, dispatching Kenny Tiemon, 3:33 into his 285 pound match. Milford knew they had a clear advantage in the upper weight classes and actually hoped to have recorded a few more pins before turning the corner at 106 pounds. While the 22-0 lead looked promising, Parsley hoped for a few more pins.
“We really would have like to have gotten a few more points from our bigger guys, not getting them added some pressure to us,” Parsley stated.
One of the top wrestlers in the state at 106 pounds was Caesar Rodney’s Michael Primo, who looked every bit the part as he dispatched Milford junior Anthony Sollie 3:08 into their match. The Milford lead was cut to 22-6 and there seemed to be a swing in momentum. While Milford junior Robbie Rosser won his match 3-0, it again was not the pin Milford hoped for. The home favoring Rider crowd was beginning to believe things might just tile their way. Over the next two matches the CR faithful had their optimism further buoyed as Cameron Hayes (120) and Mason Harrington (126) both won their matches by fall. What had once been a comfortable looking 25-6 Buccaneer lead, began to rapidly disappear. Following the two matches, Milford lead 25-18 and was looking to be on the ropes.
“We knew that they were going to make a run and those two guys were really good,” Parsley said. “It was just a matter of regaining our composure and not letting things get away from us.”
In the 132 pound match, it looked as if Caesar Rodney was going to continue the comeback, with CR’s Robert Stevenson beginning to impose his will on Buccaneer senior Michael Edwards. Just as it looked as if he might become the latest pin victim, the feel and tide of the entire match turned. Ceasing on a mistake by Stevenson, Edwards was able to gain a cradle and produce a stunning pin. Going from done to won, Edwards gave the Buccaneers a pin they desperately needed.
“I can’t begin to explain how huge that was for us,” Parsley said. “Yes, I’ve seen Michael do it in practice, but to do it in a match like that, when he was down was spectacular. That is just the kind of work you look for from a senior like Michael.”
Milford would not look back as senior Alex Creasey (152) recorded a major decision and junior Kiry Hovington (160) won by decision to close out the match. With the win Milford moved to 2-0 on the season.
Playing D-I teams that are possible tournament qualifiers is difficult, but it is something that Parsley believes in necessary to get the team where it needs to be at the end of the year. “We would not be doing our guys any favors if we didn’t wrestle the tougher teams. It is all about making them and the team better as the season goes on,” Parsley stated. “We have guys that will be wrestling in the individual tournament at the end of the year, they need to wrestle against top level competition to get better.”
Milford returns to to the Battle at the Beach tournament this week at Indian River, where they finished second last year.
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