Honesdale's varsity wrestling team came out flat and paid the price in Division One
HAWLEY — When Ryan Chulada dissected the individual match-ups, he fully expected that his Hornets would be in for a barnburner with the Buckhorns.
Honesdale's veteran wrestling coach had landed on the shores of The Big Lake Friday night primed for another epic battle with archrival Wallenpaupack Area.
"This should be a real donnybrook," he said with a grin, a pen behind his ear and a line-up card clutched in his hand.
"We've got two evenly-matched teams, a big crowd and the TV station here. What more could you want?"
Sadly for Coach Chulada and his staff, Paupack dominated this one right from the opening whistle. The Bucks raced out to a big early lead, then cruised to a surprisingly easy 46-22 victory.
"We had a couple of individuals wrestle pretty well tonight, but I'm very disappointed with the rest of this team," said Coach Chulada, no trace of that pre-match smile anywhere in evidence.
"Some of our younger kids don't yet comprehend what a rivalry like this one entails. They don't understand that when we wrestle Paupack, all the stats and records go out the window."
With the win, Paupack upped its record to 7-2 on the year. Honesdale fell to 1-3 overall and 1-1 in the league.
Next up for the Hornets are two home matches this coming week against Abington Heights (Thursday) and Delaware Valley (Friday).
Early & Often
The latest chapter of this local wrestling saga began at 182 and the result triggered an early run for the home team.
Mike Failla battled Paupack's Jerome Haupt through three grueling periods before finally absorbing a 3-2 loss.
Jared Wehrmann made it two straight for the Bucks, pounding out a solid 5-3 win at 195 over senior Joe Quinn.
When Jovan Marshall added a wild 12-7 decision at 220 and Calvin Kreiter recorded a second period pin at 285, Paupack's lead ballooned to double digits and Honesdale fans began getting restless.
"I really don't know what else to say other than we came out incredibly flat," Coach Chulada said. "You have to give Paupack credit because they came out here ready to wrestle and we didn't."
Trailing 15-0 and in serious danger of being blown out, Honesdale sent Joe Walsh out to the mat hoping he could stop the bleeding.
A tough-as-nails sophomore, Walsh came through in the clutch for his team. Joe needed just 1:45 to clamp Tej Singh at 106 and cut Paupack's lead to 15-6.
"I'm very proud of the way Joey responded in that situation," Coach Chulada said. "I told him we needed bonus points and he went right out there and got them for us."
Unfortunately for the visitors, Walsh's performance merely served as a reprieve and not a match-changer.
Paupack swung the momentum right back in its own favor in the very next bout as Andrew Demchuk hammered out a 14-1 major decision over Honesdale's Brett Jackson at 113.
Brice Pattison extended the Bucks' lead to 25-6 with a second period pin of John Lemon at 120, setting the stage for one of the best young wrestlers in the region.
Over & Out
Chase Gallik piled up 32 varsity wins last season as a freshman.
He finished second at the District Two tournament and made a deep run at regionals
This winter, Gallik had already notched 11 victories coming into Friday night's action and Josh Taylor drew the unenviable task of facing off with him at 126.
Taylor turned in a solid effort, especially in the early going. However, Gallik simply wore him down with a relentless attack and eventually walked off with a 15-0 tech fall.
Evan Kennedy then strode to the mat at 132 and gave Honesdale its second reprieve.
The battle-tested junior wasted no time at all with Ryan Tarantino, hitting a quick takedown and parlaying it into a pin.
The fall came with 21 seconds remaining in the first period and brought the match tally to 30-12.
Eric Daniels and Zach Smith rounded out the Red & Black scoring. Daniels looked sharp in claiming a 9-1 major at 145 while Smith accepted a forfeit at 170.
As Blue Ridge Cable techs packed up their broadcast gear and fans filed out into the frigid winter night, Coach Chulada took a deep breath and made one last pronouncement.
"Well, we've got two choices after a loss like this," said Coach Chulada.
"We can either learn something from it or we can pack it in. Personally, I think we're going to work even harder and get a whole lot better."