Panthers top Owls in thrilling 35-31 contest


The rivalry between Seymour and Jennings County wrestling lived up to its billing on Thursday night as the Panthers and Owls squared off in Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.

It came down the very final contest of the night, and Seymour was leading 31-29 with only Seymour’s Hunter Wick and JC’s Vincent Pittman still to compete in the 195 weight class.

It was the Panthers’ Pittman who was able to pin Wick and give Jennings County the 35-31 victory.

“That’s probably the best dual we probably wrestled all year,” head coach Dan Rasey said. “I can’t fault anything that happened out there. They wrestled their tails off. From where we were in November to where we are now, it’s night and day. It’s so unbelievable how far they’ve come.”

The Owls started off with a win from Brenden Bridgewater, who beat Gage Gasper at 220.

Jennings County took back the lead as Peyton Hayden beat Carlos Ortiz 3-1 at 285.

Ricky Bogard had a huge 16-0 decision over Ash Fernandez to give Seymour a 13-3 lead, but the Panthers clawed their way back into the match, trailing just 19-14 after a pair of decision wins.

In the 138 weight class, it looked as if Evan Sochacki was about to score Jennings County more points as he had a 1-0 lead on Sam Chandler. But in the waning seconds of the third round, Chandler pulled off a maneuver and scored two points to ultimately win his match as time expired.

Jennings County tried to argue that the timer had already gone off, but the call stood and Chandler improved Seymour’s lead to 22-14.

“It got them riled up pretty good,” Rasey said. “I love these kids. They’re such a family, and they feed off of each other.”

Sam Castetter followed that up by getting a pin over Jaydon Umilla to push the lead out to 28-20.

The Panthers wouldn’t go away, and ended up taking the lead 29-28 with two matches left.

Then Seymour’s Brandon Mora had a fight-to-the-end match. He wrestled Colton Ross at 182, and Mora scored a 3-2 decision to maintain Seymour’s lead at 31-29.

“That was all heart. He was giving up 20 pounds to that kid,” Rasey said of Mora. “I love Brandon. For him to go out there and just dig it out was so awesome to see.”

But pinfalls were the major differences in the match. Those are worth the most points, and as much as Seymour battled and almost pulled it off, the Panthers had the advantage in that category.

“It really came down to bonus points,” Rasey said. “They got pins more than we got pins, and when you lose by four, that’s usually what it comes down to.”

Thursday night was also Senior Night for the Owls, who honored six seniors after the junior varsity match and before the varsity match. The seniors were Rolando Baltazar, Sam Castetter, Dunigan Huddleston, Carlos Ortiz, Michael Proffer and Ed Ramirez.

“They have been through a lot with it being COVID and all of that, and everything they’ve been through, you never hear one complaint the whole time,” Rasey said of the seniors. “The seniors just come in and work hard. Kids are starting to realize what it takes to be solid.”

Even though the Owls lost, they’re getting healthy and performing at a high level heading into sectionals next Saturday at Jennings County.

“We have been battling injuries and illnesses all year, and this is the first time we’ve had an almost full lineup,” Rasey said. “To be peaking right now one week before sectionals gets me feeling really good for what we are going to do next week.”

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