Caesar Rodney was able to win the majority of the toss-up matches before the strength of its lineup took over in 45-18 victory over visiting Cape Henlopen in Henlopen Conference wrestling action Wednesday night.
The Riders earned five straight pinfall victories to close the meet, but the key stretch happened in the middleweights, where Caesar Rodney took five of the seven matches that went the distance.
“We won a couple of the close matches, and we knew if we won a couple of the close matches, the meet would go in our favor,” Riders coach Dickie Howell said. “If Cape won all the close matches, they would win. They didn’t do that, and we won.”
The first key match came at 138 pounds when Dan Ortiz trailed Sean Sheehan 5-2 after two rounds but earned a come from behind victory at 9-6 when he scored a late near fall. Johnny Joanem earned some redemption from an earlier defeat to Aaron Mattioni at 160 by winning 7-2 to give Caesar Rodney a 12-6 lead.
After nine matches and winning the majority of the tossups, the Riders still trailed the Vikings 18-15. But they moved into the strength of their lineup, winning the final five matches of the night via pinfall, starting with Zach Parker beating Nick Carroll at 285 pounds in 2:39.
“I knew I wanted to pin the guy early to give the team some motivation,” Parker said. “Also, I wanted to do it to give the guys on deck less stress for their matches.”
Caesar Rodney rolled from there, earning victories in the next four matches with Sam Schuman following Parker with a win in 34 seconds at 106 pounds. Schuman entered his match wanting to continue the momentum established by Parker.
“I wanted to wrestle more, but I didn’t want to be the one who messed it up,” Schuman said. “I went in and did what I had to do. I didn’t think he was going to take a shot off the whistle, so I took the shot. I felt comfortable with it, and it all led to that moment.”
Johnny DeVary clinched the meet for the Riders when he scored a pin in 1:36 to give Caesar Rodney a win at 113 pounds. Brandon Scott and Micah Hight capped the night for the Riders with wins at 120 and 126 pounds, respectively.