By Kevin Eickman
On January 29, Milford Central Academy Gymnasium was rocking as the Sussex Central Golden Knights came to town for a key Henlopen North wrestling matchup. On a senior night there was much more on the line than pride with both teams entering the dual meet undefeated and State tournament implications also hanging in the balance. The atmosphere was electric with both teams knowing defeat would be devastating to their season aspirations. “We knew this was a very important meet. They are a very good team, we knew we were going to have to bring our A game to get the job done,” Coach Don Parsley said.
The Buccaneers did much more than bring their A game, they brought a domination few expected going into the meet. Most prognosticators had the meet almost even going in and with Milford depleted at a few weight classes, some thought that might make the difference. What the Milford faithful got treated to was one of the most dominating performances the Buccaneers have displayed since moving back to D-I, defeating Central 48-21.
With the meet starting at 160 pounds, Milford forfeited the match due to injury. MHS would get those six points back as senior Rafael Mejia (170) would get the Bucs’ first pin of the evening midway through the second period, leveling the score. Next up would be a 9-3 decision win for Central’s Samuel Jones of Marquis Gillis (182) who is in his first year of wrestling. The Bucs fell behind for the second time on the evening – it would be the last time they trailed.
A pair of Buccaneer seniors would record a pair of pins with Bevensky Agustin (195) and Anthony Diaz (220) dispatching their opponents in short order. “I knew that I could count on those guys tonight, they come prepared every meet and are very methodical, it’s really been a blessing to have their leadership on this team,” Parsley said. Central would gain another victory by forfeit at 285, closing the gap to 19-15. All of it turned out to be the calm before the storm as Milford was about to explode to take control of the meet in emphatic fashion.
With the rotation now at the 106-weight class, Buc freshman Emily Thode battled against Central’s Lamaze Ross. Thode put on a clinic, taking control of the match from the start. The first-year wrestler was in control of the match, never giving Ross a break before finally pinning him in the third period. The gym exploded with the pin as Milford extended its lead to 25-15. “I felt that I was really in control of the match from the start, it was just a matter of keeping it. I knew if I stayed on top of him, I eventually could get the pin,” Thode, who is in her first year of organized wrestling and has been growing more confident as the season has gone on, said. “As the year has gone on, I have grown much more comfortable with the team. My teammates and Coach Parsley have been great in teaching me on how to improve.”
The Buccaneers would display dominance as junior Corey Messick (113) collected a 7-0 decision before sophomore Jack Thode would get another Milford pin at 120 pounds. Following the win by Thode, the match of the night was about to be turned in by junior Trenton Grant as he would battle Central’s Mason Ankrom at 126.
Grant fell behind early and looked to be in trouble. After giving up a few early points, Grant regrouped and thought he might have a chance against his opponent. “When he scored early, I could kind of sense how he was going to try and work me. I knew that if he tried that move again, I would have a good chance to take him down,” Grant said. “Sure enough, he tried the move again and I was ready for it. Once I had control of him, I wasn’t going to let the chance pass me by. I lost to this guy three times last year, it was great to get a win against him.” The win would come by pin in the first period as the noise in the Central Academy kept getting louder.
Milford would keep it going as junior Aaron Briscoe (132) and sophomore Tim O’Hara (138) would both record wins by decision. Milford would forfeit at 145 before Buccaneer senior Dominic Feightner would win by decision at 152 to close out the victory.
The victory was a big one for Milford but pales in comparison to what lies ahead this week. Milford will face two huge road tests as they travel to Caesar Rodney on Wednesday before Traveling up to Smyrna Friday night in a meet that will most likely determine the Henlopen North regular season title and have a huge impact on State tournament seeding “These are two huge matches for us against two fantastic teams. While we did well tonight, we are going to have to continue to get better and bring our best if we hope to compete with those teams.” Parsley concluded.
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