BELLEFONTE – In the first time all year that Clearfield had a full lineup, they traveled to Bellefonte to match up against the Bellefonte Red Raiders.
Bellefonte was coming off of a runner-up District 6 AAA Team Championship tournament over the weekend, and have had a lot of success in Central PA this year, with wins over Bald Eagle, Huntingdon, and Penns Valley, all teams which beat the Bison Stampede earlier this season.
The Bison were coming off of a District 4-9 AAA Team Championship semi-finals appearance in which they upset the Cranberry Berries in their first match and narrowly lost to eventual champions Selinsgrove within one matches distance.
Even with the late season Bison surge and a full lineup, Clearfield was going to need some upsets to pull off a victory against a tough Bellefonte team.
The match began at 126 pounds between Bison freshman Luke Freeland and Bellefonte’s Alex Coppolo. Freeland looked great for the first three minutes of the match, using a slick arm drag for a first period takedown and then getting an escape to start the second, but he was then quickly taken down twice. Then in the third period, Coppolo reversed and rode Freeland until the final five seconds of the match, eventually giving Freeland an escape to win 6-4.
Moving up to 132, junior Peyton Smay was pinned in just 1:02 by Bellefonte’s Ryan Smith. This made the score 9-0, Red Raiders. Then at 138, Justin Hand was taken down and cradled twice and pinned in 1:12 by Red Raider Cole Stewart.
Quickly, the match moved up to 145 pounds where Bison senior Jude Pallo wrestled the Red Raiders’ Brady Martin. Pallo scored a quick takedown and then used a reverse half nelson and scored a fall in 1:39. Finally, the Bison put points on the board, but they were down 15-6.
The 152-pound bout was wrestled between Caleb Freeland and Bellefonte’s Ethan Richner. Richer was 24-4 coming into the match, and Caleb was working towards his 20th win of the season. After the first period, the score was 0-0. Richner took bottom to start the second period, and he immediately escaped. Freeland tried a fireman’s carry but was caught in a front headlock and taken down. Then it was 3-0 and Richner immediately tilted Freeland for two near-fall points. Losing 5-0, Freeland took neutral heading into the third period. Freeland was eventually taken down and turned for two more points, losing the match 9-0. The team score widened and Bellefonte was up 19-6.
At 160 pounds, freshman Mark McGonigal worked a takedown on Bellefonte’s Logan Simpson in the first period. In the second period, McGonigal rode out Simpson for an entire two minutes without a stall warning being called by either wrestler. McGonigal then took bottom and hit a standing switch at the beginning of the third period. McGonigal continued running arm bars and punishing Simpson, and the referee eventually called Simpson for stalling twice to give the Bison wrestler another point, and McGonigal won his team-leading 20th match of the year by a 5-0 score. The score was 19-9, Bellefonte.
Then at 170 pounds, Clearfield senior Cole Smay wrestled the Red Raiders’ Andrew Howe. The two appeared evenly matched, but with five seconds left in the first period, Howe took Smay down and cradled him for three near fall points to lead 5-0. Starting on top in the second period Smay rode Howe with legs and then put Howe on his back but no points were awarded. Smay chose to take top again in the third period, but he was reversed early to fall down 7-0. Howe then locked up a tight cradle and pinned Smay in 4:53. 25-9 Bellefonte.
Moving up to the 182-pound bout, Brett Zattoni got an immediate two-point go-behind takedown against Bellefonte’s Kyle Myers. Myers then got an escape, a takedown and a fall in 1:29. Bellefonte increased their lead to 31-9, and Myers earned his 100th career win. Zattoni will now be able to tell his future kids he took down a 100-win wrestler.
Wrestling at 195 on the night was freshman Oliver Billote and Red Raider Ethan Rossman, Rossman caught and pinned Billotte in 1:03, making the match score 37-9, Bellefonte.
Sophomore Nick Domico then met Bellefonte’s Max Barrier at 220. Domico was out the past few weeks due to a concussion and made his comeback tonight. After a scoreless first period, Domico then proceeded to ride out Barrier for the entire second period until the very last 10 seconds when Barrier got an escape to lead 1-0 heading into the third period. Domico chose bottom and got an escape with 1:20 to go. Then Domico got a takedown to go up and win the match 3-1, and he put three points on the board for the battling Bison.
Then in the battle between two senior .500 record heavyweights, Bison Avry Gisewhite met Red Raider Daniel Orndorf, and at the buzzer of the first period Gisewhite got a takedown. Then to begin the second period, Gisewhite immediately went out front and ran Orndorf to this back from a front headlock position for the fall in 2:22.
The score, heading into the lightweight action, was 37-18 Bellefonte. But senior Johnathan Thomas wanted to close the gap even more. Thomas worked a first period takedown and then lateral dropped Red Raider Aidan O’Shea in their 106 pound bout. After one, the score was 7-2, and Thomas chose neutral to begin the second period. Thomas got an escape with about half a minute to go in the period and then cut O’Shea and got another takedown at the buzzer to lead 11-3. O’Shea then took top. Thomas and O’Shea swapped reversals, and the final score was 13-5, with the team score being 37-22, Bellefonte.
Moving up to 113, Nolan Barr met up against Bellefonte’s Aaron Little. Barr took Little down and stacked him over to his back with an arm bar and the score was 5-0 after the first period. To start the period, Barr reversed Little and then Little escaped. After an out of bounds restart, Little took Barr down and then put Barr on his back with a near-side cradle for three more points. Suddenly the score was close at 7-6, but Barr used his signature arm bar and ran Little over for three more near fall points and then rode Little out for the rest of the period to win 10-6.
The final bout of the night was wrestled at 120 between Bison freshman Karson Kline and Bellefonte sophomore Lane Aikey. Kline immediately took Aikey down, but was then reversed and put on his back for three back points and then tilted for two more. Aikey led 7-2 after the first period. In the second period, Kline took neutral. Aikey then took Kline down and scored more back points when he trapped Kline’s arm to go up 12-2 and then scored another three points after that. Aikey took top in the third period and rode Kline out for the entire period. The final score of the bout was 15-2, Aikey.
The final score was 41-25, Bellefonte. With that loss, the Bison dropped to 5-7 on the season, but they will wrestle five more matches this Saturday at the Bison Duals. The Bison still have a shot at ending their season with a winning record.