Archrival Wallenpaupack Area rolls to Lackawanna League victory.
"I still believe this is a good team and I'm not giving up on these kids by any stretch of the imagination."
These were the first words spoken by longtime Honesdale wrestling coach Ryan Chulada on the heels of a disappointing loss to archrival Wallenpaupack Area Thursday night.
The Buckhorns are an early season favorite to challenge Delaware Valley for the Division One title this year ... and they opened up their season in style by blasting the Hornets 56-19.
"They're a very good team, no question about it," Coach Chulada said. "But, our kids have a ton of potential too.
"We'll definitely use this as motivation. Starting tomorrow, we're going back into the room and working our butts off. When we Paupack again, and we will, it might be a different story."
If Old Man Winter deigns to cooperate, Honesdale will be back on the mat
A big crowd packed the stands on a wintry Wednesday night to witness the first varsity match of the 2013-14 campaign.
And the Hornets gave their loyal fans something to cheer about right away as Troy Russell opened the scoring with a win at 113.
A freshman who's coming off a stellar junior high stint, Russell made a successful varsity debut by hanging a 5-0 shutout on Paupack's Ray Ortiz.
"Troy is poised to have a really nice career," Coach Chulada. "I'm very happy for him getting that first varsity win under his belt."
Nick Johannes earned a spot in Honesdale's starting line-up against Paupack and turned in an outstanding effort at 160.
A junior who struggled to an 0-10 varsity record last year, Johannes worked hard during the off-season and re-dedicated himself to the sport that he loves.
Johannes battled with Brandon Rodriguez deep into the third period before finally putting the clamps on at the 5:41 mark.
"We gave Nick a chance to start tonight and he really made the most of that opportunity," said Coach Chulada. "I'm very, very happy for Nick. That was a good win for him."
Joe Walsh dominated his bout at 120. A battle-tested varsity veteran, Walsh fought his way to a 9-0 major decision over Ceius Gonzalez.
And, he did this despite favoring a cracked rib.
"Joey is a Honesdale hunter-gatherer," Coach Chulada said with a laugh.
"He loves his hunting and fishing and he's a tough kid. For Joe to go out there and hammer out a win for us like that is awesome."
Evan Kennedy provided Honesdale with its final team points of the evening via a pin at 145.
A 3-time District Two placewinner, Kennedy is a senior who should earn a place in the prestigious 100 Win Club by the end of the season.
Evan had his hands full with Isaiah Rios in the first two periods, but finally sealed the deal with a fall at the 4:28 mark.
"That was a dogfight for a little while there," Coach Chulada said. "But, Evan kept his cool and took care of business.
"I really feel that once Evan starts firing on all cylinders he'll be right up there with the elite kids in our region."
It's no surprise that the strength of Paupack's line-up lies in the upper weight divisions.
And, the Bucks flexed their muscles Wednesday by reeling off 30 straight points against Honesdale.
Todd Frick got the ball rolling with a third period pin of Josh Burkavage at 170 pounds.
Jared Wehrmann followed with a clamp of his own, this one coming 1:04 into his bout against Taylor Porter at 182.
Jake Haupt made it three falls in a row by putting Brett Dailey on his back at 195 (3:15).
Kyle Hartman continued his season-opening heroics with yet another pin, this one coming at the expense of Justin McMillan at 220 (1:09).
Since the match began at 113, Paupack closed out its scoring run with one final pin at 106.
Zach Krial battled the Hornets' Zach Hoffman into the third period before carding his first clamp of the season (4:42).