So assistant coach Tony DeVary called all the Riders back to the bleachers behind their bench. The subject of DeVary’s quick pep talk was to do a better job of getting bonus points.The Riders did that with Seth Mogle, Mike Clavier and Troy McNally earning pins in their matches to help CR defeat the Senators 31-27 in a key late season Henlopen Conference Northern Division matchup on Friday night.With the win, CR kept its state tournament hopes alive. The Riders (2-3 North, 6-10 overall) haven’t missed the tournament since 1995.
“CR has been in the state tournament for I don’t even know how many years,” McNally said. “We just want to keep that CR Riders thing going on. We just want Caesar Rodney to still be known as one of the better teams in the state, so we work hard every day at practice so we can get to where we need to go to.”
Mogle picked up the first CR pin of the night at 160 pounds in just 1:35.
CR had won four matches at that point, but three were by decisions. Dover was up 13-12 through the first eight weight classes before Mogle’s match.
“There’s just got to be a point where that stops,” Mogle said. “Our coach called us back there and we said this is a hole we’ve got to dig ourselves out of.”
Luther Williams brought Dover closer with a 6-3 decision at 170 pounds before Clavier stepped onto the mat for CR in his 182-pound matchup.
Clavier needed less time than Mogle for his pin. The match lasted 1:04 and gave the Riders a 24-17 advantage.
Jon’Del Dyer won at 195 for Dover via a 14-4 major decision to bring Dover within three points.
But McNally followed with the shortest match of the night, a pin in 46 seconds to seal it for Caesar Rodney.
“We knew it was going to be a close match because Dover’s a good team, and we knew that we couldn’t afford to give up bonus points,” said CR interim coach Chris Harris. “We were kind of leaving some on the table there. We needed to make sure that everyone was focused and they knew they had to get bonus points. Coach DeVary did a great job motivating them and we ended up pulling through.”
Dover’s Isaiah Abrams finished the contest with a pin in 2:27 in the heavyweight match.
Mason Harrington won the first match of the night with a decision at 113 after a double forfeit at 106. Bobby Stevenson (120) gave the Riders a 6-0 lead by holding onto a 2-1 decision in the next bout.
That’s when Dover made its run to the lead, thanks to Anthony Fisher’s tech-fall at 126 and a pin by Chae Neale (132). But CR soon responded with the three pins to wrestle back control.
It was the closest Dover-CR dual meet in recent memory and was the first time Dover coach Aaron Harris, a Caesar Rodney graduate, had faced his alma mater.
“It’s great to have that type of match,” Chris Harris said. “I’m really happy for coach Harris, coming back in and rejuvenating the program. It’s nice to see, but I’m happy we came out tonight on top.”
Staff writer Tim Mastro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 741-8224. Follow @TimMastroDSNon Twitter.