MISSED MARK: Pam Pack falls to Croatan
Published 11:09 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Washington hit every one of its objectives of the season prior to Tuesday’s dual team playoffs. The Pam Pack took down Holmes, 53-25, to advance to an inevitable showdown with Croatan. The Cougars came out on top in a close match, winning 37-26 to advance to the next round of the playoffs.
The hosting Pam Pack boys couldn’t find their way onto the scoreboard in the first couple of matches. They even lost a point as a team due to Raekwon Ross disputing a pin ruling with the official. Ross had a 4-0 advantage before he took a quick fall.
Andrew Ferguson picked up the team’s first six points with a pin to cut the deficit to 16-5. It was the spark the boys needed to start climbing back into the match.
“We’re a little undermanned in all three (starting) weight classes,” Pam Pack coach Chris Penhollow said. “(Croatan) got momentum. Our 112 through 145-pound guys were going to have to carry us. … I told (Ferguson) right before he went out there, ‘Let’s get things started.’ He took it to the kid.”
Simeon Pope followed suit by picking up another pin. Austin Coward hung on in the next match to win by decision, 6-4. He endured a late rally by Justin Jolin to cut the Cougars’ lead to 28-17.
Momentum clearly shifted when Milton Cobb picked up a pin that Penhollow admitted came out of left field. The Pam Pack faithful rose to their feet as Andrew Litz’s shoulders fell to the mat and the hosts were down just 28-23, needing just one more pin to take the lead.
“That came out of nowhere,” Penhollow said. “That one I didn’t see coming. That was a surprise. … I said, ‘That’s a big win. That’s a huge win.’”
Austin Koonce was up next. He fed off the energy to help him dominate Ben Simonette for just about the entire first round. However, Simonette got a shockingly quick pin out of nowhere in the second round to push Croatan’s lead to 34-32. It was the least desirable outcome.
“That killed. You’re up 4-0 and then you roll over and get pinned,” Penhollow said. “They’re good and there’s a reason they’re defending state runners up. I think we matched up well and gave them the best shot we could. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
Washington was running out of time to complete its comeback. D.K. Credle stepped up as the second-to-last competitor. The Pam Pack trailed by 11 points, so he and Rob Zerniak both needed to get a pin for six points for their team to knock off Croatan.
The boys were in good hands with Credle, one of the captains, out in a pressure situation. He managed to get a near fall, but only managed to win via decision. The three points weren’t enough and Washington’s team season mathematically came to an end.
Zerniak wrapped up the evening by showing the perseverance and fighting spirit that helped carry Washington to such a successful season. He endured the entire outing and only surrendered three points in a decision loss.
The Pam Pack now sets its sights on the individual portion of the postseason. They may have missed one of their goals, but there’s still plenty more to accomplish.
“I’m proud of the kids and the season,” Penhollow said. “We got three kids from states last year. We get ready for regionals a week from Friday. Hopefully we get four, five or maybe even six there this year.”