Milford rallies past IR for Div. II state mat title

Milford rallies past IR for Div. II state mat title

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Milford rallies past IR for Div. II state mat title

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SMYRNA – As close as their regular-season dual meet was, Milford and Indian River entered their state championship rematch Tuesday night knowing every moment and each move weighed heavily.

They could have assumed that would likely also guarantee some drama.

Milford provided it, winning the last four bouts worth 19 points to rally past Indian River 34-30 in the Division II finals of the 25th annual DIAA Dual-Meet Wrestling Championships in the noisy Smyrna High gym.

It was a familiar sight.

No. 1-seeded Milford, which won its fourth straight smaller-schools crown, had scored the last 13 team points over the final three bouts for a 37-33 win over its Henlopen Conference Southern Division rivals on Jan. 25.

This time, the Bucs trailed 30-15 with four weight classes to go.

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“After the 138-pound match, when we gave up the tech, I turned to my team and said ‘We’re going to seal the deal starting now,’ ” Milford coach Don Parsley said.

“ . . . We’d had a couple close calls that didn’t go our way. But we worked hard all year long, we persevered, the kids believed in themselves. Our opponents worked really hard, but I think we wore them down and we had some guys who could get the sticks [pins] at the end. We had just enough to get the job done.”

Milford narrowed the gap to 30-25 on Gavin Garcia’s 17-7 major decision at 145 and Alex Creasey’s second-period pin at 152.

At 160 pounds, Milford’s Khiry Hovington then scored the third-period takedowns that spelled the difference in a 7-5 decision over IR’s Arturo Salas, who had won 3-2 in their January dual. It was pivotal.

“I just went out and tried to wrestle as hard as I could,” Hovington said. “It wasn’t just about the team. I was wrestling for the whole city of Milford. Even though I lost 3-2 the first time I went out there wrestling to the best of my ability and it came through for us.”

Kaje Reynolds then finished it off and set off the celebration with a pin at 170.

“Even when were behind,” Reynolds said, “we were confident because of what we had coming and because we’d done it before.”

Each team won seven bouts.

The state dual-meet title was the sixth for Milford (14-3), the others coming in 2004, 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The Bucs reached the Division II title match for the eighth time.

No. 2 Indian River (16-3) was wrestling in its third Division II final, having lost to Hodgson in 2008 and Caravel in 2011.

The match opened at 182 pounds, with IR’s John Keller taking a 10-4 decision. At 195, Dominyc Covington tied it with a 7-1 decision for Milford.

IR picked up a big win at 220, where Zachary Schultz used an escape with 12 seconds left followed by two penalty points for a 3-1 decision and a 6-3 team lead.

The teams then kept swapping pins with Bryan Wynes (285) and Robbie Rosser (113) getting them for Milford and Will Rayne (106) and Ta’jon Knioght (120) for the Indians, who led 18-15.

Dan Ely then scored a 12-2 major decision for IR over Jordan Passwaters at 126 – Ely had won 4-2 in the dual meet – and Jessie O’Neal followed with another clutch finish at 132. He escaped Oscar Rosaria as time expired and then won with a takedown in overtime 4-2 as IR went ahead 25-15. Jared Arlett’s technical fall at 138 made it 30-15.

In semifinal duals, Milford coasted 44-21 past No. 5-seeded Laurel (10-7) and Indian River prevailed 36-25 over No. 3 St. Georges (9-5).

In the first round, Laurel won 41-32 over No. 4-seeded Sanford (3-9) in a match that came down to the final bout at 152, where the Bulldogs’ Gabriel Degraffinreed scored a 12-2 major decision. He had weighed in at 141 and was moved up one weight class when Laurel forfeited at 145. Sanford, the only state wrestling tourney qualifier without a football team, forfeited at 220 and 285, as well as 138.

Also in the first round, St. Georges had no trouble in a 56-16 win over No. 6-seeded Caravel (9-4).

Milford and Indian River had first-round byes.

Contact Kevin Tresolini at ktresolini@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @kevintresolini.

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Indian River's Dylan Ely lifts Milford's Jordan Passwaters on to his shoulder in the 126 pound match at DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

Indian River’s Dylan Ely lifts Milford’s Jordan Passwaters on to his shoulder in the 126 pound match at DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

Milford's Oscar Rosaria, left, wrestles Indian River's Jessie Oneal in the 132 pound match at DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

Milford’s Oscar Rosaria, left, wrestles Indian River’s Jessie Oneal in the 132 pound match at DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

Milford celebrates after defeating Indian River in the DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

Milford celebrates after defeating Indian River in the DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

Indian River's Ramond Turner, left and Milford's Bryon Wynes wrestle in the 285 pound match at DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

Indian River’s Ramond Turner, left and Milford’s Bryon Wynes wrestle in the 285 pound match at DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

Milford's Bevensky Augustine works to get out from a hold by Indian River's John Keller in the 182 pound match at DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

Milford’s Bevensky Augustine works to get out from a hold by Indian River’s John Keller in the 182 pound match at DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

Milford's Bevensky Augustine works to get out from a hold by Indian River's John Keller in the 182 pound match at DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

Milford’s Bevensky Augustine works to get out from a hold by Indian River’s John Keller in the 182 pound match at DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

Indian River's Ezekiel Marcozzi works to get away from a hold by Milford's Dominyc Hovington in the 195 pound match at DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

Indian River’s Ezekiel Marcozzi works to get away from a hold by Milford’s Dominyc Hovington in the 195 pound match at DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

Milford's Dominyc Hovington wrestles Indian River's Ezekiel Marcozzi in the 195 pound match at DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

Milford’s Dominyc Hovington wrestles Indian River’s Ezekiel Marcozzi in the 195 pound match at DIAA Dual Meet Wrestling State Championship at Smyrna High School.

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