POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Only half of the 14 matches actually took place … and the Big Blacks ultimately won a slim majority of them.
The Point Pleasant wrestling team claimed bragging rights and a little bit more Thursday night following a 40-33 victory over visiting Ripley in the 2017 Battle for the Shield dual meet held in Mason County.
The Big Blacks improved to 4-2 overall against the Vikings in the head-to-head contest that officially began in 2011. PPHS also won its fourth consecutive dual meet in an odd-numbered year while also avenging last year’s 61-12 thumping at RHS.
Point Pleasant finished the night with an 8-6 overall record in the 14 different weight class contests, but half of those wins came by forfeit. Ripley, conversely, also won half of its matches by forfeit — though PPHS gained an extra six points because of the discrepancy.
In the seven matches that did take place, four were decided on points and another three went down as pinfall wins. Point’s Caleb Lane earned a pinfall win over Evan King at 120 pounds, while Hunter Burdette (132) and B.J. Haynes (220) scored pinfall wins for the guests.
The Big Blacks won three of the remaining four decisions on scoring, which included wins by major decision and two decisions. RHS scored only a common decision in its lone victory, a 5-3 decision by John Sinclair over George Smith at 113 pounds.
Grant Safford scored three points for PPHS with a 5-3 decision over Chance Morgan in the 182-pound contest, while Andrew Roach won a 3-2 decision after an illegal grip was called on Anthony Jarvis in sudden death of the 195-pound contest.
Jacob Bryant also scored four points for the hosts with a 9-1 major decision over Hunter Cestaric at 138 pounds.
Jacob Roub (145), Nazar Abbas (152) Colten Carr (160) and Brian Gillispie (285) earned six points apiece for Point with wins by forfeit, while Ethan Koontz (106), Tyler Haskins (126) and Chase Morgan (170) scored six points each for RHS due to forfeits.
Point Pleasant trailed 21-6 through four individual contests, but won seven of the final nine bouts to secure the seven-point triumph.
Afterwards, PPHS coach John Bonecutter spoke about the evening and the pluses that come from facing Ripley while preparing for the postseason.
“It’s always good to have one of these traditional matches with a solid program where it just goes back and forth every year. The guys remembered the beating we took there last year and we definitely posted that score all over the locker room this week, hoping it would serve as some extra motivation,” Bonecutter said. “Both programs had some kids out of the lineup because of injuries or illness, but we were able to win some big matches when we needed to.
“Overall, I’m very pleased with how we wrestled tonight. It was a great tuneup for the postseason and hopefully we can take some momentum from this into regionals. We’re looking forward to working our way back to the Class AA tournament.”
The 2014 dual match between Point Pleasant and Ripley was postponed due to inclement weather.
Point Pleasant now focuseearneds its attention to the Class AA-A Region 4 meet scheduled for next Friday and Saturday at Calhoun County High School.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.