POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — A very bitter pill to swallow.
The main event did not disappoint, but the home crowd found the final ending a little hard to digest Tuesday night as Parkersburg South came away with a 5-point victory over host Point Pleasant to win bragging rights during a non-conference quad match at ‘The Dungeon’ in Mason County.
Both the Big Blacks and visiting Patriots — the reigning state champions and current top-ranked programs in Class AA-A and Class AAA respectively — had little trouble in their head-to-head matchups with Riverside and Roane County, setting up an epic showdown of programs also coming off of state team dual titles earlier in the week.
Starting at 160 pounds, the Red and Black won six of the first 11 matches and held their final lead of the night at 24-23 after a 5-4 decision for Chris Smith at 132 pounds. PSHS, however, answered with a Brayden Johnson pinfall win at 138 pounds for a 29-24 edge — setting up a most-meaningful match between a pair of the state’s best.
PPHS junior Derek Raike — a 2-time reigning state champion — suffered only his second prep loss to South freshman Gage Wright at the WSAZ Invitational roughly two weeks ago, and this rematch would determine if Point Pleasant could catch the Blue and Red in the final standings.
Raike led 2-1 headed into the final period, but was unable to escape from his down position during that third frame. Raike was also issued a trio of stalling warnings in that final 2-minute session, which resulted in a pair of points being awarded to Wright as the third period progressed.
The last stalling call came with roughly 20 seconds left in the match, giving Wright a 3-2 lead that eventually held up. That eventual PSHS win counted for three points and gave the guests a match-clinching advantage of 32-24 going into the final bout.
Mitchell Freeman did score a 4-0 win for PPHS in the 152-pound contest, which ultimately evened the dual out to seven wins apiece for each program.
Three of the 14 matches ended up being decided by a single point, while three more ended in pinfalls — including the 220-pound match that went the way of the Patriots with only one second left in the match.
Those additional three points for a pinfall win instead of a decision, combined with the potential 6-point swing from the controversial Raike-Wright bout, ultimately made a huge difference in the final outcome.
The Big Blacks defeated Riverside 72-10 and beat Roane County 79-0 in the other two dual contests. PSHS defeated the same two programs by counts of 79-0 and 81-0, respectively.
Point Pleasant ended the evening with a combined 32-10 overall mark in head-to-head bouts, which included 16 pinfall wins, a major decision and a technical fall. The hosts also won nine matches via forfeit.
The Big Blacks had six grapplers — Parker Henderson (113), Isaac Short (126), Chris Smith (132), Mitchell Freeman (152), Justin Bartee (160) and Nick Ball (285) — finish the evening with perfect 3-0 marks in their weight classes.
The half-dozen each recorded a single pinfall win. Henderson had a 13-1 major decision against Roane County, while Smith added a 16-0 technical fall against the Raiders as well.
Wyatt Wilson went 2-0 with a pinfall between bouts at 170 and 182 pounds. Raike, Nathan Wood (106), Mackandle Freeman (138), Brayden Connolly (195) and Colby Price (220) each ended the night with identical 2-1 marks.
Wood, Raike and Mackandle Freeman recorded two pinfall victories apiece, while Connolly also scored a single pinfall win. Ciah Nutter (120) and Zander Watson (182) scored a pinfall win each for the hosts as well.
Visit wvmat.com for complete results of Tuesday night’s quad match at Point Pleasant High School.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.