With the win, the Eagles (6-0 North, 10-1 overall) wrapped up the Henlopen North title for the third consecutive season.
“Obviously you’re happy about the conference title,” Howell said. “We’re looking down the road. We want to win states and obviously Polytech is right there, probably the second seed as it looks right now. This is hopefully a good tone-setter for that match.
“I wanted my kids to make more of a statement, but like I said you have to take what they give. They’re well-coached and wrestle to try find to find little chinks in our armor. I’m proud of my kids, they took what was given to them.”
Marquelle Bennett picked up the lone pin of the night for either team when he needed 1:57 to wrap up his match at 195 pounds.
Cole Sebastianelli (120), Kalen Wilson (152) and Eli Hutchinson each won via major decision for Smyrna. Polytech only won four matches and all were by decisions.
“It’s a credit to Smyrna, they’re very tough in their gym and it showed,” said Polytech coach Eric Buckson.
Smyrna led wire-to-wire as Josh Hutchinson won the opener 4-2 at 182. He had a quick takedown for two points in the first round and was able to fight off a few takedown attempts in the third round for the win.
Then Bennett won with his pin despite trailing a few seconds into his match. Mark Mullnack put the Panthers (5-1 North, 9-1) on the board with a 6-2 decision in the 220-pound match.
The heavyweight match needed six periods before it was decided. Terren Carter won 2-1 thanks to a late escape with two seconds left in the sixth period.
“I had to win the match for my team,” Carter said. “I was just fighting through it and trying to keep it down. My stamina had to be up to push through it.”
Greg Baum (106) and Chase Archangelo (113) followed with decisions before Sebastianelli had the first major decision of the contest with a 9-1 victory.
Polytech then closed the gap to 22-12 as the Panthers won the next three matches with victories from Andy Schmeusser (126), Kody Stevens (132) and Josh Price (138).
Larsen Wilson (145) was tied 3-3 in the closing seconds of his match, but won 4-3 on a late stalling call. The Eagles followed with two more major decisions before Polytech forfeited the final match of the night at 170 to Smyrna’s Ronnie Wuest.
As the projected two top seeds at the state tournament, Tuesday Feb. 17 at Smyrna, there’s a strong possibility these teams will meet again.
“We have to get to them which means we’ve still got to beat some teams in the dual meet at states,” Buckson said. “Having said that, yeah we’d like another chance. Clearly it’s an uphill climb, but we’ll take that climb if we get the chance. We’ve got to earn it though.”
Staff writer Tim Mastro can be reached at email@example.com or 741-8224. Follow @TimMastroDSNon Twitter.
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