After Scotland’s 44-24 loss at the hands Jack Britt, Scots’ coach Nicky Kee called the match a “stepping stone” for many of the inexperienced wrestlers on the roster.
But against a Buccaneers squad that is currently ranked second overall in the state, the Fighting Scots did manage to make some noise and give its’ team leaders cause for optimism.
“For some of our young guys, this was their very first match ever, and they did well regardless if they got pinned or lost by major decision,” said Scotland 160-pound senior Adrian Soto-Perez, who tallied one of Scotland’s three pins on the night. Against Jack Britt’s Devin Ivey, Soto-Perez ended his match just nine seconds into the first period.
“We were wrestling such an experienced team in Jack Britt, and while we only lost by 20 points to them which isn’t bad, we can’t be satisfied,” Soto-Perez said.
The Fighting Scots opened their night against the Buccaneers by surrendering three consecutive pinfalls and a forfeit, allowing Jack Britt to vault to a 24-0 lead.
In the first match to go the distance on the evening, it was Scotland junior Afiz Lateef (who weighed in at just over 133 pounds prior to the dual match) who took on Garrett Hinton and nearly mounted a comeback win. Heading into the second period with Hinton up 2-1, Lateef collected a pair of one-point escapes to keep pace with Hinton, who notched his second takedown of the match to end the period 4-3. Beginning the third and deciding period in the referee’s position, Lateef would tie Hinton at 4-4 after another escape to threaten overtime, but a takedown by Hinton with just 10 seconds remaining proved to be the deciding factor in the Jack Britt wrestler’s 6-4 decision.
Up next for the Scots was 129-pound senior Deshawn Williams, who wrestled up 10 pounds to face Michael Palmer in another match that ended in a decision. Though Williams came on strong down the stretch with a reversal and takedown after failing to register any points in the first two periods, Palmer nonetheless maintained his poise and earned the 13-4 major decision over Williams.
At the midway point in the dual match, Jack Britt had pitched a 31-0 shutout against the Scots.
“We came into the match expecting to get beat up a bit, but not as bad as I thought we did tonight,” Kee said. “It was a real eye-opener for us, because it showed us who did and didn’t work hard in the off-season. With that being said, I have no complaints about the younger guys tonight, because you can’t simulate a live match in practice so it was good to see them out there working.”
Weighing in at just under 130 pounds heading into her match, Scotland junior Jessi Kee’s opponent Petelo Mikaele outweighed the all-conference wrestler by 11 pounds and would defeat Kee via the 11-3 major decision.
Scotland would forfeit at 152 pounds to go down 41-0, but a strong finish was in store for the Fighting Scots.
Following Soto-Perez’s convincing nine-second pin, it was 170-pound Nick Kee’s turn to compete. As he approached the scoring table, Scotland coach Joel McCanna informed Kee of Soto-Perez’s impressive match finish.
With that fresh in his mind, Kee would promptly pin opponent Paul Garcia eight seconds into the first period to best Soto-Perez’s mark a second earlier.
The Scots yielded their final loss of the night after the back-to-back pins earned by Soto-Perez and Kee, as Tony McDonald fell to fellow 182-pounder Drake Libby 8-2 to give Jack Britt a three-point decision.
But in the last match of the night, Scotland’s Matthew Sabin ended the Scots’ evening on a high note, pinning Kyle Ponapart in just under 30 seconds in the first period. Jack Britt would forfeit at 240 pounds to end the match on top of Scotland 44-24.
“Coach McKanna made the call at the last minute to start Matthew Sabin, who has been out he past few weeks with a knee injury,” Coach Nicky Kee said. “He was very impressive tonight, and I wish more of our older guys could’ve helped us out in general.”