WEST DEPTFORD – Haddonfield head coach Mike Miller just nodded his head.
Miller has been around wrestling long enough, better yet, he’s experienced enough Colonial Conferences games and matches in wrestling, football and baseball to know full well that when the opponent is West Deptford nothing will come easy. He also knew what Wednesday night would come down to one thing and one thing only.
“Bonus points,” Miller said. “Most matches in the Colonial end 7-7 or 8-6 in bouts. It’s those bonus points that make the difference. That certainly was true tonight."
In a match that ended even in bouts, Haddonfield (3-0) used six pins and a forfeit to secure the maximum amount of bonus points in a 42-27 win over West Deptford (5-4) in a Liberty Division tilt.
While West Deptford’s Corey Fisher won the marquee match, 4-3, over Chris Bolletino at 171 pounds, it was the Bulldawgs who walked away with an important early season win.
“We knew we could get points below but (West Deptford) won a few tight ones in a row,” Miller said. “They had momentum after 170, but we had the guys there to stop that run.”
After Fisher’s win, Haddonfield held a 24-21 lead with five bouts left. The lead widened to 30-24 after a pin by Haddonfield’s Michael Carey at 189 and a 7-4 decision for West Deptford’s Tasir Mooney at 195. At this point West Deptford held a 6-5 advantage in bouts but that changed quickly.
“It’s my first match of the year,” said 220-pounder Gabe Klaus, who has worked his way into shape after a long football season. “I wanted to get bonus points but more importantly I didn’t want to get gassed after just one period. I wanted to wrestle smart.”
Smart is one thing but a pin in 1:32 quieted a raucous Eagles cheering section. It also swung the momentum back to Haddonfield and Will Murray made short work of the heavyweight bout.
“I’ve been at 220 but it didn’t matter that I went up to heavyweight,” Murray said. “We’ve put a lot of work in already this year and (Klaus) pushes me in practice and I push him.
“I just needed to find an opening.”
Murray found that chance early and pinned Sal Minnino in 1:49 to lock up the win for Haddonfield.
“It’s still real early,” Miller said. “But you know it’s going to be a good match whenever we wrestle West Deptford. It was a great match last year too. Tonight, we battled over 14 weights and had a good night.
“But tomorrow we’ll be back in the room and back at work.”
Bulldawgs 42, Eagles 27
113-Ryan Bolletino, H, won by forfeit; 120-Jake McConville, WD, pin Nicholas Palmer, 1:35; 126-William Sabia, H, pin Ryan Monzo, 1:32; 132-Declan Skelly, H pin Ian Cori, 0:52; 138-Luke Benedict, H, pin Scott O'Donnell, 1:06; 145-Gavin Gismondi, WD, decision Jack Mooney, 7-5; 152-Cody Thurston, WD, pin Colin Price, 5:39; 160-Gavin Gismondi, WD, decision Sean Ellery, 7-6; 170-Corey Fischer, WD, decision Chris Bolletino, 4-3; 182-Michael Carey, H, pin Michael Griffith, 0:37; 195-Tasir Money, WD, decision Nick DiNoia, 8-4; 220-Gabe Klaus, H, pin Hayden Holmes, 1:32; 285-Will Murray, H, pin Sal Minnino, 1:49; 106-Tommy Steffney, WD, decision, Brian Schlitt, 4-0.