Carson exacts revenge vs. Damonte
There’s no getting around it. The Carson and Damonte Ranch wrestling programs don’t like each other.
It has always been a bitter rivalry with the Mustangs always coming out second best to Carson until last year. Damonte ended Carson’s Sierra League domination last season in the opening league match, beating an undermanned Carson team which wasn’t anywhere close to full strength because it didn’t have its football players. CHS officials had tried to get the match moved to no avail.
The Senators, thanks to key wins from freshman Zach Bumby, Jarod Butler and Sheldon Miller, avenged their only league loss in six years, edging the Mustangs, 37-33, Wednesday night at Morse Burley Gym.
Senior Brady O’Keefe said he hadn’t forgotten last year.
“We wanted to show them that the team they beat last year was nothing like this year’s team,” said O’Keefe, whose decision at 145 gave Carson a 25-9 lead. “Having lost (Nolan) Shine and (Brady) Rivera and beating them was big. Last year’s loss was impetus for us during practices and getting ready for the season.”
“I knew it was going to be close,” coach Justin Shine said. “I didn’t think it would be this close. Last year was personal to a lot of kids. I just tried to get the guys working hard and getting ready for tonight.”
This one came down to the last match. Damonte had just gone ahead on Richardo Garcia’s 9-7 win over Corey Jasper at 220 pounds, setting the stage for Miller. The 230-pound heavyweight brought the home fans to their feet with a 14-second pin of Hunter Williams. It put an exclamation point to the thrilling win.
“I didn’t feel any pressure,” Miller said. “I’ve been on bigger stages for football, and wrestling at regionals and state last year.”
While Miller’s pin turned out to provide the match-winning points, the Senators might have already been out of it if not for the wins by Bumby (132) and Butler (160). The Carson wrestlers trailed in both instances yet won by pin.
“By far (those were the key),” Shine said. “Butler’s win was a surprise to me. (Michael) Solferino was coming off an injury last year, and he’s plenty quick. Butler showed a little bit of heart and caught him. Bumby, man, he’s just a freshman.”
Carson led 16-3 after wins by Terin Keller (106), Ethan Lepire (113) and Brandon Basa (120). Greg Ewert’s win at 126 cut the lead to 16-6, and it appeared the Mustangs were going to cut into Carson’s lead even more.
Damonte’s Josh Martin had a 7-1 lead, but that wasn’t enough. Martin let Bumby up for an escape point, and then Bumby got a takedown to make it 7-4. Martin still appeared to be in control, but Bumby wasn’t going to be denied. Bumby brought the crowd to its feet with the pin, extending Carson’s lead to 22-6.
“He pushed me away, and then I heard the coach tell me to get under him,” Bumby said. “I came in and got him.”
Cameron Sandoval beat Carson’s Nathan Mersino, 6-2, at 138 to make it 22-9, but O’Keefe got those three points back with his win. Nathan Thom pinned Kellen McDermott to make it 25-15, and things looked really bleak when Solferino, a state contender this year, led 8-3 after two periods.
Solferino quickly made it 10-3, but Butler got a reversal to make it 10-5. With the clock winding down, Solferino made a mistake, and Butler made him pay. The pin gave Carson a 31-15 lead. “I don’t know, it just happened,” Butler said after the match. “I felt like I had nothing left and then I pulled something out.”
“He caught him in a cradle while he was sitting on top of him,” Shine said.
Damonte got pins from Eric Knoblock (170) and Tevin Bailey (181) plus a 5-3 win by Drake McAdow over Connor Sievers to pull within a point at 31-30.
Jasper’s ability to stay off his back was critical. Garcia had a 6-2 lead at one point, but couldn’t put Jasper away. In fact, Jasper went ahead briefly at 7-6.