By Kevin Eickman
Things had not gone quite as planned this past Tuesday as Milford was running out of matches and facing a 30-15 deficit to an inspired Indian River team. With the Buccaneers losing by technical fall at 138 pounds, the margin for error was not slim, it was zero.
“Edwards fought hard to stay on the mat at 138, he gave it everything he had and saved us a point that might be huge in the match,” coach Don Parsley stated.
With Milford knowing they would need to win all the remaining matches, along with getting a pin or two along the way, the stage was set for some Milford magic. It started at 145 pounds for the Bucs as senior Gavin Garcia recorded a major decision. The win was significant because it had stopped the bleeding, with the swing in momentum almost immediate.
“Starting with Gavin, we knew we had to get it done. He went out there and did his job, he got the ball rolling quite nicely for us,” said Parsley.
Next up was Milford senior Alex Creasey at 152, who had been on the mat for each of the previous three State title wins. While up on points, Creasey was looking for much more than just the win. “I knew that we needed to have a pin, so that is what I was out there looking for,” Creasey stated. The pin would be just what Creasey would get, pinning Indian River’s Michael Payan with a cradle midway through the match. The Milford faithful erupted with the win, understanding that if they could just win out the final two matches the title would be theirs.
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With only two matches left, junior Khiry Hovington faced a battle against Arturo Salas. Hovington was able to get ahead early and stay there, scoring points when needed, but keeping himself out of danger. The result was a workman like 7-5 decision that saw Milford close the gap to 30-28, with just one match remaining.
“Khiry is the type of guy that always steps up and he stepped up tonight just when we needed him the most,” Parsley said.
The Buccaneer faithful were on their feet now, knowing that they were just one win away from the title with senior Kaje Reynolds holding the Buccaneers title dream in his hands at 170 pounds. Facing off against Zion Howard, Reynolds was on the attack from the very start.
“I knew how important my match was going to be the way things were unfolding, I just wanted to go out there and wrestle the best that I could,” Reynolds stated. With the lead, Reynolds continued to press the advantage and was rewarded with a pin at the 2:54 mark. The pin secured the Division II title for the Buccaneers and set off a wild celebration.
Of the four consecutive titles for Milford, this one was undoubtedly the most difficult. Forced to juggle his lineup all season, Parsley was thrilled to have all hands on deck for this one. “We have been battling injuries all season and it was great to have everyone available tonight,” said Parsley. “It’s been a long year and to say that it was difficult would be an understatement”
When the tournament seeds came out, it was clear that Milford and Indian River were on a collision course. Asked about the prospect of facing an Indian River team that had taken them to the limit earlier in the season, Parsley shared his thoughts .“The reality of it is, I work with these kids every day, I train them every day, I believe in them and trust in them,” Parsley said. “This was a day when they really reflected on those previous three championships and that is what allowed us to bring it home tonight.”
Other Buccaneers winning matches in the finals on Tuesday were seniors Dominyc Hovington 195, Bryon Wynes 285 and junior Robbie Rosser at 113. Rosser would also earn the 113 pound Henlopen Conference title this past Saturday.
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