By Brock Sisney (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
NEOSHO — Regardless of the final score, the Neosho Wildcats and the Carthage Tigers always bring out the best in each other during their annual Black and Blue Brawl.
That definitely held true on the mats Tuesday night at Neosho High School.
Neosho gained 18 points from Carthage forfeits at 106, 113 and 132 pounds. After several highly competitive matches in the early and middle stages of the dual, Neosho finished strong with pins at 160, 170, 195, 220 and 285 giving the Wildcats a 57-10 victory in a dual closer and more competitive than the final result may first appear.
“We did well,” Neosho head coach Jeremy Phillips said. “We’ve got to learn and grow. Carthage is always well-coached. We know they’ve always got tough kids. There’s definitely some outcomes that we’d like to change the result. We’ve got to wrestle the entire match, that’s one of the biggest things. Be coachable throughout the entire match, and we’ve got to work a little harder, while we’re wrestling here and while we’re in the practice room, if we’re going to change those results.”
There’s a Murphy’s Law restaurant in Carthage. Just by sheer coincidence, Murphy’s Law seems to have applied to the Carthage wrestling team before its dual Tuesday.
“106 and 113 were (out) because of COVID,” Carthage head coach Kenny Brown said. “132, one of my wrestlers had a bacterial infection and 220, my JV kid was in there. On Thursday last week, he hurt his hamstring. Then, at heavyweight, we have my JV wrestler in there because we had a concussion (Monday) at practice. Anything bad that could happen just before wrestling one of our most anticipated duals.
“It is what it is. Neosho’s got a strong team. We wrestled some close, tight matches and a couple that I wish that would have gone our way. We get to COC, hopefully all our guys are back in and we can give them a run.”
The highly competitive matches started at 120 with Neosho’s Landon Kivett and Carthage’s Carlos Reyes exchanging takedowns and reversals throughout. Kivett scored the final takedown late in the third period for a 11-10 victory.
Carthage’s Kip Castor and Neosho’s Jonny Chrisco went scoreless for the vast majority of their match at 126 and Castor emerged victorious 1-0 on an escape in the third period.
Carthage’s Eli Sneed claimed a 5-4 victory at 138 with a takedown of Hayden Crane just beating the buzzer.
Neosho’s Eli Zar enjoyed the final takedown and a 4-2 victory at 145 against Davion King.
Neosho’s Collyn Kivett took down Braxdon Tate near the buzzer for a 3-2 victory at 152.
Other than a Luke Gall 13-4 major decision at 182 for the visiting Tigers, Neosho won five of the last six matches by pin — Trent Neece (160) pinned Grey Petticrew in 4:58, three-time state champion Cayden Auch (170) pinned Brett Rockers 26 seconds into the second period, Jacob Fry (195) and Eric Renner (220) pinned their respective opponents Obed Gonzalez and Antony DeLeon in the third period and overtime, and Nikolas Olivares (285) closed out the dual in emphatic fashion by pinning Malachi Housh 33 seconds into the second period.
“I always focus on the team aspect,” Phillips said. “I’m very critical. One thing I want to see us do is to stay focused on the dual and quit thinking about solely themselves. At the end of the night, I felt that a couple of the little guys, they were done, they were literally done, and they weren’t cheering on. We had a couple big boys at the end step up and got some energy, some life back in the little guys, who were probably still pouting about their loss. We’ve got to work on that.”