West Perry assistant wrestling coach Chaz Sheaffer spent every possible moment between Saturday and Monday gathering scouting reports on Montgomery, the District 4 runner-up and the Mustangs’ opponent in the wrestling championships preliminary round by PIAA Class 2A team. Sheaffer built the game plan from there, and a brave West Perry team showed up and executed it to defeat the Red Raiders, 36-28, and smash their way into the Giant Center.
West Perry (17-3) will face the District 10 champion in Thursday’s first round in a game scheduled for a 4 p.m. start in Hershey. If the Mustangs’ energy for that one resembles how they presented after the long bus ride to Montgomery, coach Craig May will be happy to take a shot at anyone.
“Our kids were excited,” May said over the phone. “They played an awesome game. As far as matches go, they had kids in certain weight classes where we were just looking to score enough points. We were trying to figure out how to surpass them.
“Of course Chaz comes up with a great game plan. He said, ‘That’s what we have to do.’ These kids came out and followed it to a T. We got the draw. We got the matchups we wanted to get, and the kids came out and executed it exactly.
Executing the game plan wasn’t limited to West Perry wrestlers winning either.
The Mustangs had to bow their hand early in a duel that started at 160 pounds, taking Judge Hockenberry-Folk to 172, Quade Boden to 189 and Loyal Carver to 285. Hockenberry-Folk followed a pin from the medalist to Montgomery State‘s Devon Deem in the opener at 160 with a technical win over Braiden Beachel. Boden held Tanner Springman to a 10-4 decision, and Carver minimized the damage in a major 9-0 decision loss.
In between, senior standout Brad Morrison pinned Montgomery’s Colby Springman to keep West Perry within striking distance. After the lineups turned and the Mustangs lost to 106, they faced a 19-11 deficit in their strength at the lower weights. A big race ensues and propels the Mustangs to victory.
“Our young guys down there did what our young guys down there do,” May said.
Deven Jackson and Nolen Zeigler won by technical fall to 113 and 138, respectively. Jackson Rush scored a late drop over Blake Snyder at 120, and Ty Morrison followed with a second-period pin at 126. Tucker Seidel took the group final victory with a solid 7-3 decision over Caden Finck at 145 pounds , making it five wins for West Perry – four by bonus – in the last six contested fights of the night. The Mustangs lost to top-ranked Conner Harer in the final at 152.
May said her team’s performance was another pleasant surprise from a group that worked nonstop over the summer and discovered a habit of delivering pleasant surprises. His guys were sharp and hungry and did something no other team in West Perry history had ever done: win a PIAA tournament duo and qualify to wrestle as a team at the Giant Center.
“They keep stepping up,” May said. “Every time I think we can’t fight better, next time they come out and fight better.”
One by one, the Mustangs came out and ensured that Sheaffer’s winning plan was followed in every detail. Where the Mustangs needed to score or save a bonus, they did that job, ensuring Sheaffer’s 48-hour sprint paid off.
“He says, ‘I think we’ve got that if we get the matchups,'” May said. scouting reports and coming up with a game plan. He had it. [Assistant coach] Zach Kell is just sitting there looking at me, like, ‘We get it, Coach.’ The guys I work with are as good as I can ask for.
West Perry 36, Montgomery 28
160: Devon Deem (MAH) on Joe Saylor (WPH) (Fall 1:50) 172: Justice Hockenberry-Folk (WPH) on Braiden Beachel (MAH) (TF 18-1 4:15) 189: Tanner Springman (MAH) on Quade Boden (WPH) (December 10-4) 215: Brad Morrison (WPH) on Colby Springman (MAH) (Fall 3:16) 285: Bradley Leon (MAH) on Loyal Carver (WPH) (MD 9-0) 106: Logan Sauers (MAH) on (WPH) (For.) 113: Deven Jackson (WPH) on Brennan Emery (MAH) (TF 18-2 3:07) 120: Jackson Rush (WPH) on Blake Snyder (MAH) (Fall 5:24) 126: Tyler Morrison (WPH) over Emily Murphy (MAH) (Fall 2:18) 132: Hunter Leet (MAH) over Blain Puchalsky (WPH) (December 3-2) 138: Nolen Zeigler (WPH ) on Nevin Beachel (MAH) (TF 15-0 5:45) 145: Tucker Seidel (WPH) on Caden Finck (MAH) (7-3 December) 152: Conner Harer (MAH) on (WPH) (For.)